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V77 



THE 



CANADIAN FEENCH 



IN 



NEW ENGLAND, 



[FROM THE THIRTEENTH ANNUAL REPORT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS 
BUREAU OP STATISTICS OF LABOR.] 



BY 



OAREOLL D. WRIGHT, 



CHIEF. 



BOSTON: 

EaiU, aiberp, * Co., Printew to t!)e Commontocattj), 

117 Franklin Stbeet. 

1882. 



.'>' r 



: Y' 





J 




THE 



CANADIAN FEENCH 



I 



Of 



NEW ENGLAND. 



[FROM THE THIRTEENTH ANNUAL RErOUT OF THE MASSACHUSETTS 
BUREAU OF STATISTICS OF LABOR.] 



BY 



OAREOLL D. WRIGHT, 



CHIEF. 



BOSTON: 
EanB, aiiJerp, $( Co., Printcra; to tl)e Cominontoealtb, 

117 Franklin Stbeet. 
1882. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH IN NEW ENGLAND. 



The legislature of 1880 passed the following 

Resolve relative to a Uniform System of Laws in Certain 
States, regulating the Hours of Labor. 

Resolved, That the Bureau of Statistics of Labor is hereby directed to 
collect data and ootain testimony from employers and employes in the 
States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connect- 
icut, and New York, relative to a uniform system of laws to regulate the 
hours of labor in the States mentioned, and to present the results of its 
investigations to the legislature in its next annual report. 

Approved March 17, 1880. 

The results of the investigation conducted under this re- 
solve were fully reported in the Twelfth Annual Report of 
this Bureau. In discussing the reasons urged by parties why 
the Massachusetts system should not be adopted in neighbor- 
ing States, we said, — 

" In all our investigations we have found but three serious objections 
urged against the adoption of ten hours, and these we will now state." 

After stating the first and second objections urged against 
the adoption of the ten-hour system, we gave a rSsumS of the 
third in the following language (see pp. 469-470) : — 

«* The third objection to ten hours is the presence of the Canadian 
French. Wherever they appear, there their presence is urged as a reason 
why the hours of labor should not be reduced to ten. The reasons for 
this urgency are not far to find. 

♦•With some exceptions the Canadian French are the Chinese of the 
Eastern States. They care nothing for rur institutions, civil, political, 
or educational. They do not come to make a home among us, to dwell 
with us as citizens, and so become a paij of us; but their purpose is 
merely to sojourn a few years as aliens, touching us only at a single point, 
that of work, and, when they have gathered out of us what will satisfy 



4 STATISTICS OP LABOR. 

their ends, to get them away to whence they came, and bestow it there. 
They are a horde of industrial invaders, not a stream of stable settlers. 
Voting, with all that it implies, they care nothing about. Rarely does 
one of them become naturalized. They will not send their children to 
school if they can Iielp it, but endeavor to crowd them into the mills at 
the earliest possible age. To do thft they deceive about the age of their 
children with brazen effrontery. They deceive also about their schooling, 
declaring that they have been to school the legal time, when they know 
they have not, and do not intend that they shall. And when at length 
they are cornered by the school officers, and there is no other escape, 
often they scrabble together what few things they have, and move away 
to some other place where they are unknown, and where they hope by a 
repetition of the same deceits to escape the schools entirely, and keep the 
children at work right on in the mills. And when, as is indeed some- 
times the case, any of them are so situated that they cannot escape at all, 
then the stolid indifference of the children wears out the teacher with 
what seems to be an idle task. 

" These people have one good trait. They are indefatigable workers, 
and docile. All they ask is to be set to work, and they care little who 
rules them or how they are ruled. To earn all they can by no matter how 
many hours of toil, to live in the most beggarly way so that out of their 
earnings they may spend as little for living as possible, and to carry out 
of the country what tiiey can thus save: this is the aim of the Canadian 
French in our factory districts. Incidentally they must have some 
amusements', and, so far as the males are concerned, drinking and smok- 
ing and lounging constitute the sum of these." 

These statements met the earnest and patriotic condemna- 
tion of the Canadian French of New England ; and the French 
residents of Lowell and Hudson in Massachusetts passed series 
of resolutions on the subject, and sent them to the legisla- 
ture during its session of 1881. These resolutions, by con- 
current vote, were referred without other action to this Bu- 
reau. The resolutions are as follows : — 



Lowell, Mass., May, 1881. 
Hon. Charles J. Notes, 

Speaker of the House of Representatives: — 

Sir, — The " Socidtd St. Jean Baptiste de Lowell, Mass.," a national 
and benevolent society of the Canadian French of Lowell, organized in 
1869 and incorporated in 1870, according to the laws of the Common- 
wealth, at a regular meeting held May 4, 1881, unanimously adopted the 
following resolutions : — 

BESOLUTIONS. 

Whereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor, in his 
Twelfth Annual Report to the Hon. Charles J. Noyes, Speaker of the 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 6 

House of Representatives of the Common wenlth, denounced the presence 
of the Canadian French as an objection to the system of ten hours' hibor, 
onliing them the " Chiuesu of llie East; a horde of industrial invaders; a 
deceitful people who seelc their amusements iu drinliing, smoking, ar-* 
lounging," etc., etc., — it is 

liesoU-edy Tliat we deny each and every accusation contained in said 
report, and that we protest most energetically against these insinuations 
made against the French Canadians of the Eastern States. 

llesolvetl, That it is the duty of all and every French Canadian in 
New England to strongly protest against this report so far as it concerns 
them. 

Resolved, That a copy of these presents be submitted to the legisla- 
ture of this Commonwealth, with our prayers to consider. 

J. W. PARADIS, President. 
J. H. GuiLLBT, Secretary. 



A true copy of the record — 
Attest : 



J. H. GuiLLET, Secretary. 



Lowell, May, 1881. 
Hou. Charles J. Notes, 

Speaker of the House of Representatives : — 

Sir, — The Fi'ench Canadians of Lowell, feeling aggrieved at the 
report of Col. Carroll D. "Wright, Chief of the Bureau of Statistics of 
Labor, assembled at a mass-meeting. May 5, 1881, and passed the 
following resolutions, which they humbly present for yom- considera- 
tion: — 



RESOLUTIONS. 

Whereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor, in his report 
to the Hon. Charles J. Noyes, Speaker of the House of Representatives 
of Massachusetts, declares that the presence of the French Canadians in 
the Eastern States is an objection to the system of ten hours of labor in 
manufacturing establishments; and 

Whereas, Lowell is the greatest manufacturing district of the Eastern 
States, and the number of Fiench Canadians is much greater than in any 
other centre in New England; and 

Whereas, We recognize unanimously the wisdom of the ten-hour 
system, — 

Resolved, That we protest energetically against this portion of the 
report of the Bureau of Statistics, as being entirely groundless; and 

Whereas, For the past fifteen years, agents of the manufacturers have 
been seat to Canada to solicit its inhabitants to come to the States, prom- 
ising them good places and good wages ; and 

Whereas, By repeated invitations this class of population has come to 
this section to live in this land of liberty ; and 

Whereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics in his report called 
them *' the Chinese of the East: " it is 



6 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



Resolved, That we deny with indignation the epithet, and protest 
strongly aguiii.st this portion of the report as being injurious to our 

race. 

Whereas, We Canadian French of New England are yet, for the most 
part, i|i;nonint of the English hipguago, but as soon as we become ac- 
quainted with the language and the habits and cuslomii of this country 
we recognize the high wisdom of the institutions, — 

Resolved, That we protest against the part of the report which says 
that ''we do not care for the institutions — civil, political, or educational 
— in this country." 

Whereas, Since the French Canadians have come to this section they 
have reached a population of four hundred thousand in New England: 
and whereas a large number have become proprietors, paying large taxes: 
and whereas for the most jjart the young men propose to make their home 
here, — 

Resolved, That we protest against the portion of the report which says 
that we " are a horde of industrial invaders." 

Whereas, We have to live five years in this country before we can 
become citizens of this glorious Republic, and the French Canadians have 
been here in large numbers but five or six years, there are over two hun- 
dred voters of this class in Lowell alone, — 

Resolved, That we protest with energy against the portion of the 
report which says, that " voting, with all that it implies, they care noth- 
ing about, nor rarely does one of them become naturalized." 

Whereas, We recognize the necessity of sending our children to 
school, and having done so continually, petitioning the city of Lowell to 
find schoolrooms for our children, — 

Resolved, That we protest strongly against the portion of the report 
which says "that they will not send their children to school if they can 
help it, and that they deceive also about their schooling with brazen 
effrontery." 

Resolved, That whereas the French Canadians of Lowell have estab- 
lished two national benevolent societies, two literary societies which give 
literary and dramatic representations twice a month, a band that give 
occasional public concerts, and three societies for children, furnishing 
them with proper amusements ; and 

Whereas, In our population, which is above ten thousand in Lowell, 
the average found guilty of intoxication before the police court of Lowell 
is not over twelve per annum: it is 

Resolved, That we protest strongly against the portion of the report 
which says that "drinking and smoking and lounging are the sum of 
their amusements." 

J. H. GUILLET, President. 
E. H. Kino, Secretary. 

A true copy — 

Attest: E. H. King, Secretary. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 7 

jMVfKU., May, 1881. 
Hon. Ghaulrh J. Novicn, 

Speaker of the House of Itgprescntaliven : — 

Sir, — " L'A.s80ciation ile.s Jeuiies (Jens Catlioliques," a lit(M'ary so- 
ciety of Lowell, Mass., organized in 1878, at a meeting held May 4, 1881, 
adopted unanimously the following 

liKSOLtrrioN. 

Whereas, Col. Carroll I). Wright, Chief of the Bureau of Statistics 
of Labor, in his report to Hon. Charles J. Noyea, Speaker of the House of 
Representatives, has most unjustly and injuriounly treated the French 
Canadian population of the Eastern States: it is 

Resolved, That we protest most energetically against each and every 
allegation, contained in the said report, having u tendency to injure in 
any way the good standing of the French Canadian nationality. 

JEAN G. COTfi, 

President. 

H. CONSTANTINEAU, JuN., 

Secretary. 

A true copy — 

Attest: H. Constantinkau, Jun., 

Secretary, 

We earnestly request that the above resolution be transmitted to the 
legislature for their early consideration. 

A. J. G. C. 

H. CONSTANTINEAU, J UN., 

Secretary. 



Resolutions pkotesting against Cektain Poktions of Carroll 
D. Wright's Annual Report op the Bureau of Statistics. 

W!>'ereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor, Hou. Car- 
roll D. Wright, in his report to the Hou. Charles J. Noyes, Speaker of the 
Generil Court of Massachusetts, declares that the presence of the French 
Canp^diana in the Eastern States is an objection and an obstacle to the 
syptem of ten hours of labor in manufacturing establishments ; and 

Whereas, Such an accusation should not be allowed to pass unrebuked 
as the calumny of a prejudiced and uninformed mind against so respect- 
able a portion of population as the four hundred thousand Canadians in 
the Eastern States represent; and 

Whereas, We recognize unanimously the wisdom of the ten-hour 
system, — be it 

Resolved, That we, the French Canadians of Hudson, in public meeting 
assembled, protest earnestly against that portion of Carroll D. Wright's 
report which declares our presence, there or elsewhere in the State, to 
be an objection or obstacle to the introduction of that system; and 






8 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



ll 



Whereas, For the past fifteen years, agents of the manufacturers of 
New England have been sent to Canada to solicit its inhabitants to come 
to the States, promising them good places and good wages; and 

Whereas, It is by repeated invitations that tiiis class of population has 
come to this section to live in this land of liberty; and 

Whereas, They have been called by the Chief of the Bureau of Statis- 
tics "the Chinese of the East," — be it 

Resolccd, That we protest indignantly against the injustice of the com- 
parison, and qualify it as injurious to our industrious, indefatigable, 
dociU, moral, and religious race; uad 

Whereas, Though many of us are not fully versed in the English lan- 
guage, or acquainted with the habits and customs of the country, still we 
recognize the high wisdom of its institutions, — be it 

Resolved, That we protest against that part of the report which says 
that we do not care for the institutions — civil, political or educational — 
of the country ; and 

Whereas, Since the French Canadians have come to this section, they 
have reached a population of four hundred thousand in New England; 
and 

Whereas, A large number have become land and property holders, pay- 
ing their share of the taxes; and 

Whereas, For the most part, the young men propose to here make 
their homes, — be it 

Resolccd, That we protest against that portion of the report which 
says *;hat *' we are a horde of industrial invaders; " and 

Whereas, Although a large number of French Canadians have been 
here but five or six years, yet tliey still seek to maintain their proportion 
of naturalized citizens of the United States, — be it 

Resolved, That ne protest with energy against the statement of the 
report which says, " they caiu little for voting, with all that it implies, 
nor rarely does one of them become natur-xlized; " and 

Whereas, We recognize the necessity of sending cur children to 
school, and have done so continually, — be it 

Resolved, That we protest against that portion of the report which 
declares that " they will not serd their children to school if they can help 
it, and that they deceive also about their schooling with brazen effront- 
ery; " and 

Whereas, The French Canadians of Hudson have established a na- 
tional benevolent and literary society, which gives literary and dramatic 
representations, furnishing proper amusements; and 

Whereas, In our popidation, the average found guilty of intoxication, 
or graver crimes, is quite small, — be it 

Resolved, That W3 protest against that portion of the report which 
asserts that "drinking and smoking and lounging are the sum of their 
amusements." 

Resolved, That, in drawing his conclusions henceforth, the honorable 
Chief of the Bureau pays more attention to that rule of logic which 
forbids drawing universal principles from particular cases, thus condemn- 
ing the mass for the faults of some. 



THE CANAIiIAN^ FRENCH. 



9 



Resolvedy That these resolutions, signed by a committee of five citi- 
zens, including our pastor, be transmitted to our lionorable Representa- 
tive to the General Assembly, E. M. Stowe, with the request that he 
publicly present them to the honorable Speaker, Charles J. Noyes. 

P. A. McKENNA, Pastor, 
J. J. DeNOYER, M.D., 
P. 0. DUPONT, 
PETER SHARON, 
J. A. COURTEMANCHE, 
FRANK L. FRANCIS, 

Committee on Resolutions. 

The legislature, in referring these vigorous resolutions to 
this office, did not indicate any action regarding them ; and 
if the statements which were so strongly condemned had 
been made in any spirit of captiousness, or in malice, or 
through any prejudice against the French Canadians, we 
should have contented ourselves by simply printing the pro- 
tests. The statements in the last report having been made 
in good faith, and as the results of the observations of, and 
statements made to, our agents, we thought it but fair to all 
parties that the French should have a full and free opportu- 
nity to present such testimony as they might have showing 
their progress in the United States ; and consequently a hear- 
ing was announced for Oct. 25, 1881, to which all persons 
interested were invited. The circular of invitation, which 
was given the widest circulation, contained in brief the rea- 
sons for the hearing, and the following statement : — 



♦' I am not aware that any other desire exists on the part of the officers 
. of this Bureau than that to obtain the exact truth. Certainly no pre- 
judice exists against the French, and in order that the statements of 
French Canadians residing in this State or in the States covered by the 
invesiigation may have the benefit of the same prominence as that given 
to the statements to which they object, they are invited to attend a hear- 
ing in the Green Room at the State House, Boston, on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 
1881, at ten o'clock a.m. 

'« This hearing shall be conducted in a thoroughly impartial manner by 
the officers of this Bureau, and all parties desiring to be heard upon the 
matters in question shall have an opportunity. The results of the hear- 
ing will be printed in the Thirteenth Annual Report of the Bureau to be 
laid before the next legislature. It sliould be understood that facts only 
should be given at the hearing; that is, facts relating to the education, 
habits, etc., of the French Canadian residents in the States named." 



10 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



In accordance with this invitation, some sixty representa- 
tive French Canadian gentlemen attended, and offered their 
protests and their evidence which appear in the following 
full stenographic 

Report of the Hearing. 

Mr. Wright, Chief of the Bureau, presiding, opened the 
hearing as follows : — 

Gentlemen, — The legislature of Massachusetts, by chap. 
29, Resolves of 1880, directed this Bureau to make an in- 
vestigation in the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massa- 
chusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, relative to " a 
uniform system of laws to regulate the hours of labor in the 
States mentioned, and to present the results of its investiga- 
tions to the legislature in its next annual report." 

The investigation was made, and the results reported in 
the Twelfth Annual Report of this Bureau. 

Among the objections given by many manufacturers and 
operatives, in the States where no ten-hour system existed, 
was the presence of the French Canadians ; and the reasons 
given by parties why the French were an obstacle to the 
extension of the system were presented in said report. 

These reasons, as well as all other results of the investiga- 
tion, were reported ; and the officers of the Bureau would have 
been derelict in their duties, and would have disobeyed the 
positive commands of the legislature, had these reasons not 
been reported. 

The moment the Bureau, either through fear of offending 
any party or race, or through desire to favor any party or 
rn.ce, suppresses facts or evidence given it in the legitimate 
course of an investigation, or introduces statements of its own 
invention, and reports such for facts, whatever usefulness it 
may have will be gone, and the officers so prostituting the 
privileges of the Bureau should meet the very severest con- 
demnation the public can bestow. 

The reasons given by parties why the presence of the 
French Canat^ ans in factory towns is an obstacle to the ex- 
tension of the ten-hour system have offended the French ; and 
they have expressed their disapprobation of such reasons by 
resolutions, which have been presented to the legislature, 
and by the legislature referred to the Bureau of Statistics. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



11 



Many bodies of the French, in convention, have passed 
very severe strictures upon the statements of the report ; and, 
what is to be regretted, have not confined themselves to 
denying the truth of the reasons reportecl, but have seen fit 
to accuse the officers of the Bureau, personally, of issuing 
calumnious itatements. I do not know as I can blame the 
French for being exasperated; the only fault, however, I 
can plead guilty to in regard to the report in question, as it 
relates to the French, is that it was not stated fully enough, 
perhaps, that the evidence whijh offends did not relate to 
Massachusetts at all, and that it was not explicit enough in 
stating the localities to which thr- evidence applied. We were 
discussing the reasons against the extension of the ten-hour 
system ; and such reasons could not apply to Massachusetts, 
because the ten-hour system existed here already. 

The legislature has not indicated any way in which the 
resolutions referred to the Bureau should be treated ; but I 
have thought it only fair and honorable to invite you to this 
hearing, that you may not only protest against the statements 
cf the report, but that you may introduce such evidence as 
you may have relative to the progress of your race. 

Please bear in mind that personally I have no pride of 
opinion in this matter, and shall not feel hurt if you succeed 
in proving every statement made to the Bureau relative to the 
French to be absolutely false. I hope you will confine your 
statements to facts, and be as brief as possible in your testi- 
mony, all material parts of which will be printed in the next 
annual report of the Bureau. 

After the French present have been heard, or rather those 
who have come delegated to speak, an opportunity will be 
given to any who may wish to be heard in the matter before 
us. ' 

I hope we now understand each other, and that you have 
come here in the same spirit in which you have been invited 
— that of truth and fairness. I wish you to remember one 
thing, however, and that is that while this land is open to all, 
and a welcoming hand is extended to all without regard to 
nationality, the people of the United States will always look 
with disapprobation upon any attempt upon the part of 
settlers to be other than American citizens. Our laws protect 
the alien as well as the citizen, and all the benefits of our 



12 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



institutions are as free to you as to the native born ; but you 
cannot be loyal Americans and loyal French Canadians at 
the same time. 

I am inclined to think that whatever prejudice there has 
has been in the public mind against the French Canadians, 
and I am aware there has been such, has arisen from the 
seeming disposition of the French to insist upon preserving a 
distinct national existence within the Republic. If the 
French can learn, even by the report they condemn, that to 
become citizens here in the fullest sense means their progress 
and elevation, the Bureau will have done them the greatest 
possible service. 

Certainly it is in the hearts of the officers of the Bureau to 
perform such service by any legitimate means in their power. 
This sentiment has actuated them in announcing this hear- 
ing. Mr. H. A. Dubuque of Fall River will conduct the 
hearing for the French. I wish to say to you now, however, 
that I have not summoned a single witness here. I have not 
asked any one to come here in opposition to the views you 
may express, or in favor of the statements which were made 
to the agents of tlie Bureau by the manufacturers and opera- 
tives throughout the States which we canvassed. 

Mr. Dubuque can carry on the hearing in his own way. 
I will only ask you to be as brief as possible in your state- 
ments. 

Mr. Dubuque. Honored gentlemen of the Bureau of Sta- 
tistics of Labor, — It devolves upon me to open this hearing 
on behalf of the French Canadians who have been called here 
to give their evidence relative to certain statements contained 
in the Twelfth Annual Report of this Bureau. Before, how- 
ever, proceeding to present the evidence before you, gentle- 
men, I wish to impress upon your minds the abnormal atti- 
tude in which the French are placed before you. Accusations 
have been made against them in a report made by the Bureau 
appointed by State authority. These accusations are pre- 
sumed to be true, and taken to be true, to a certain extent; 
and we are called upon here to refute them. 

Of course, we understand, gentlemen, that this hearing Is 
somewhat informal. We cannot proceed as we would in a 
court of justice. We must obtain the facts as best we may 
with the means at hand, and if certain parties are not obliged 



i 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



IS 



to come and testify we must rely upon the good will of those 
who are willing. We feel more keenly the sting of these 
accusations, for there they stand in black and white ; there is 
material which will go to write the history either of the 
Republic, of the Commonwealth of Miwsachusetts, or of the 
French Canadians in this State or in the country. That is 
opposed to the fundamental law, laid down in the Constitu- 
tion, that no one shall be accused unless he has the ridit and 
the advantage of being confronted by his accuser. I do not 
say this, gentlemen of this Bureau, because I want to blame 
you. You are, as it were, a reflection of the evidence which 
has been presented to you. Your duty is that of a court of 
justice, or a master in chancery presenting his report accord- 
ing to the state of the f;icts as they have come to his knowl- 
edge, and then letting the court, or, in this instance, the 
legislature or public opinion, pass upon the report. 

Gentlemen, I do not wish to say that you have not done 
your duty; but this Bureau, even with all the^ood will that 
it could have, with all the kind feelings towards the French 
people that it has had, has done us an injustice. You have 
felt it yourselves, gentlemen, because you have summoned us 
to come here to-day to present to you evidence to refute the 
facts which you have stated. 

Now, if we are to consider this statement as an allegation 
in a civil cause, are we going to say that the allegations of 
the plaintiff or complainant are taken to be true, and the 
defendant called upon to prove that they are false ? 

Now, wi£h these few remarks, gentlemen, we want to pro- 
ceed in the best spirit possible. You have expressed the 
desire of getting at the truth in the matter relating to the 
French people. You have said further, Mr. Chief of this 
Bureau, that the statement contained in the report did not 
apply to the French people in Massachusetts. It is to be 
regretted, indeed, that we did not know of this fact, this 
very essential fact, till only a very few days before this hear- 
ing ; because, as you know, Mr. Chief and gentlemen of this 
Bureau, the French Canadians in this State number one hun- 
dred thousand. As you know, the French are more numer- 
ous in Massachusetts than in any other State in the Union : 
therefore this report which applied to all the French of the 
Eastern States — as we understood it — we in Massachusetts 



\>. 



14 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 









'1 



have felt the sting of it as well as it has been felt in other 
States. 

I am willing to admit, Mr. Chief of this Bureau, that it 
was not intended by this Bureau to apply the statements to 
any but special cases outside of Massachusetts, and to special 
localities ; but we read by the very words of this report that 
it treats of the question of the schools, that where compul- 
sory education exists the French have "lied with brazen 
effrontery " about the age of their children. Now, of course 
you know, gentlemen of this Bureau, that in all the Eastern 
States, in all the New England States, you have not the same 
law regarding compulsory education that you have in Massa- 
chusetts ; consequently, where the law exists and is enforced 
so strictly as it is here, we have considered that the words 
relating to the school laws applied to the Canadians of 
Massachusetts, and we have come here prepared to present 
facts from Massachusetts to show you that these statements 
are not founded upon truth. 

We have come before you, also, gentlemen of this Bureau, 
with evidence concerning the social and moral condition of 
the French in New York, in New Hampshire, in Connecticut, 
in Maine, and in Massachusetts. We have come here with 
evidence concerning the French in various localities and va- 
rious places in Massachusetts, where they are in large num- 
bers and mostly engaged in working in the manufactories. 
We have come here of our own free will. Of course we are 
grateful to you who have given us an opportunity to refute 
publicly, before this Bureau, the statements which have been 
made against us ; but it is to be regretted, I repeat again, 
that, when these statements were recorded against the French 
people by the oflBcers of this Bureau, no one was asked, on 
the part of the French who were accused — condemned by 
the report — to come and refute the facts given against them. 
It is to be regretted, gentlemen. 

We do not wish to blame you ; you have done your duty 
as you thought best, and we consider that you have endeav- 
ored to be as impartial as man can be when he is swayed by 
the opinions of others, whether the statements are made in a 
court of justice or before a legislative committee. 

I may state to you, gentlemen of the Bureau, that I am 
not the only one who has been appointed to conduct this 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



16 



hearing. We have been appointed, I believe, five or six, 
representing different States, and I have been called upon to 
open the hearing with these few remarks ; and now, if other 
gentlemen who are members of the committee to conduct the 
hearing wish to state any thing further before we present the 
evidence to you, I would ask your kind favor to hear any 
suggestions which they might make. I would state to you, 
also, gentlemen, that there are gentlemen here, and especially 
a gentleman from Maine, who has very important statistics 
concerning the French Canadians. He is not very familiar 
with the English language, but he will express himself as 
best he can ; for all of us, you know, cannot use an acquired 
language as well as we can our own. He and the other gen- 
tlemen will have to ask your indulgence ; and, if he cannot 
express himself in any way which you can understand, he 
will ask to be heard through an interpreter. But I can as- 
sure you that he will make all the efforts in his power in 
order to be understood by you in the official language of the 
hearing. 

Now, gentlemen of the Bureau, the first gentleman who 
will give you evidence will be Mr. F. Gagnon, the editor 
of "Le Travrailleur," a French paper published in Worcester, 
Mass. I believe it is the oldest French Canadian paper pub- 
lished in the Eastern States. Mr. Gagnon has sent circulars 
to various cities ^nd towns, and obtained reports, and he has 
had a great experience, probably a larger experience than 
any of the rest of us, in this matter. He has been with the 
French people, has founded religious, educational, and literary 
societies amonp them ; and he will give you the reports he 
has prepared from more than thirty cities and towns. 

Mr. Gagnon represents a delegation from Worcester con- 
sisting, besides himself, of Rev. J. B. Primeau, pastor of the 
church of Notre Dame des Canadiens; and Mr. Charles 
Lalime, immigration agent of the Canadian Government. 

Mr. Feed. Gagnon then said : Mr. Carroll D. Wright, 
Chief of the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the Common- 
wealth of Massachusetts, in his Twelfth Annual Report has 
published the evidence furnished the Bureau t!iat the pres- 
ence of the French Canadians is an obstacle to the adoption 
of the ten-hour system of labor in certain States ; and that 
the French Canadians are a horde of industrial invaders car- 



16 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



ing nothing for the institutions of this country, neglecting to 
become citizens, living in a beggarly way, trying to evade 
the provisions of the school laws, being a sordid and low 
people, and fit only to work under any kind of rulers and for 
any scale of prices. It is the first time that such slanderj of 
a national element find a place in an official document. 
Mr. Wright says that he was officially obliged to include 
in the document all that was reported to him. While, how- 
ever, we admit this obligation, we regret the expressions 
which have been used to illustrate the reports of his inform- 
ants. We acknowledge that in order to indicate his sense 
of fair play and justice he has called this meeting for a 
hearing. 

We come to refute opinions given ex partem and to reform 
the verdict based on them. This situation is quite abnormal ; 
but we rely upon the justice of our cause, and the impartiality 
of the tribune before which we present our evidence ; and we 
say that the informants of the Bureau have taken, in every 
town or city hom whence they reported, the exceptional for 
the general. 

Moreover we say that malice, prejudice, and very probably 
individual interest, were the chief denunciators of our country- 
men. And, moreover, we say that considering the circum- 
stances under which the Canadians emigrate to this country; 
speaking, as they do, a language different from the idiom 
spoken in the United States ; they can show a record within 
the last ten years that no other national element can exhibit. 

Moreover, we say that, comparatively, considering their 
number, the French Canadians do more for the general pros- 
perity of the Eastern States than any other national element. 
Moreover, we say that the French Canadian element ought 
to be respected as others, for they have rendered services in 
every manner to the United States; establishing cities, 
counties, States ; fighting for the stars and stripes ; pacifying 
Indian tribes ; guiding explorers and United States armies ; 
and we say this without claiming, in this case, the honor to 
be the sons of France, the generous friend of the United 
States, whose alliance was cemented j"^ the blood of Lafay- 
ette at Brandywine, and by the surrender of Comwallis to 
Washington and Rochambeau at Yorktown. 

It may happen that ignorant of malicious gossips denounce, 






THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



17 



in their villages, the French Canadians, because the farmers 
who come to this country do not wear modem garments, and 
have not the "nobby" appearance of their traducers; but 
ignorance ought not to prevail. 

Denouncing a whole national element because the families 
in a village do not send their children to school, wear poor 
clothing, eat poor victuals, is the act of a prejudiced man. 

The faults of ten are not the faults of a nation of nearly 
two millions of individuals. 

There was premeditated malice in the reports of the in- 
formants to this Bureau. 

Who gave the key note to these denunciations? The 
manufacturers themselves, who send agents to Canada to re- 
cruit factory help. 

I have a letter from an agent of the Boston and Albany 
Railroad at Worcester, who says he is ready to testify that 
since two years, no less than one hundred superintendents or 
agents of mills have applied to him for French help, one mill 
asking for as many as fifty families at a time. And Mr. E. 
I. L'H^rault, justice of the peace at Fall River, could testify 
in the same manner. Manufacturers cannot say that the 
French Canadians have been an obstacle to the system of ten 
hours of labor. 

Never, at any place, have Canadian help asked an increase 
in the hours of labor, and never, at any place, have they been 
opposed, as a body, to the ten-hour law. 

The Canadians are peaceful, law-abiding citizens ; and they 
accept the wages fixed by the liberality, or sometimes the 
cupidity and avarice, of the manufacturers. 

Unable to speak the English language when they arrive in 
this country, burdened with a family, poor as the generality of 
immigrants are, the French Canadians have but to go to the 
textile factories, and there accept what is offered to them. 

After a few months, and the children have learned a few 
words of English, being not satisfied with the wages, they ask 
for more, and, if refused, they move to another village where 
they expect to get more. This perpetual moving displeases 
some manufacturers ; but it shows that our countrymen do 
not try to reduce the scale of wages, but that, on the con- 
trary, they put themselves to trouble and expense to get bet- 
ter wages. 
8 



18 



STATISTICS OP LABOR. 



Canadians do not go back to their country in a large num- 
ber, as is believed by many manufacturers. Leaving their 
relatives in Canada, being at a short distance they go often 
to visit their friends, but come back to the States to their 
usual occupations. 

We propose to overthrow specifically, by logical reasoning 
and statistics, all the misrepresentations contained in the 
reports transmitted to the Bureau. 

We have afiBrmed that the French Canadians have never 
asked for an increase, nor have thijy opposed a reduction of 
the hours of labor. Having many children, the Canadian 
emigrant living in factory towns cares for his family. He 



t.*^' 



;'»•" 



NAMK8 OF PLACES. 


Total populu 
tion. t!on- 
Hus of 1880. 


Canadian 
population. 


Canadian 

real estate 

owners. 


School 
children. 


Maink 


36,407 


13,125 


25 


^ 


Blddeford 


la,652 


6,500 


- 


- 


Lewiston 


19,U83 


5,000 


25 


- 


WatecviUo 


4,672 


1,625 


- 


- 


New Uampbiiire .... 


26,241 


6,100 


75 


3,576 


(Jrcat Falls 


7,000* 


2,500 


15 


400 


Nashua 


13,453 


3,000 


51 


2,626 


Rochester 


6,788 


600 


9 


660 


MASSACHnSET-JS .... 


280,640 


46,463 


974 


44,448 


Fall Klver 


49,006 


11,000 


100 


9,763 


Fltchburg 


12,405 


400 


10 


2,200 


Gardner 


4,988 


768 


73 


811 


Hav^hlll 


18,475 


3,200 


80 


3,500 


Ilolyoke 

Hudson 


21,851 


6,600 


75 


4.640 


3,739 


460 


32 


617 


Indian Orchard .... 


3,000 


1,653^^ 
3 500 I'V 


;• Ifl 


266 


Lawrence 


39,178 


40 


4,373 


Man<5haug 


1,829* 


1,047 


16 


140 


Millbury 


4,741 


1,300 


36 


966 


New Bedford .... 


26,875 


1,200 


13 


3,000 


Northampton .... 


12,172 


1,360 


41 


1,823 


North Brookfleld 


4,459 


800* 


40 


835 


Southbridge .... 


6,485 


3,100 


81 


1,275 


Spencer 

Webster 


7,466 


3,450 


140 


1,200 


5,696 


2,400 


32 


1,160 


Worpester . '. 


58,296 


4,327 


150 


8,000 


Rhode Island .... 


18,053 


8,400 


116 


2,406 


Manvllle 


2,000* 


1,400 


16 


206 


Wooi(lBOcket .... 


16,063 


7,000 


100 


2,200 


Connecticut .... 


30,574 


7,075 


194 


1,678 


*•- >ialtlc 

TJrosyenordale t .... 


3,207 


1,925 


12 


878 


3,200 


2,400 


12 


400 


Merlden 


18,340 


1,160 


20 


- 


Putnam 


5,827 


1,600 


150 


400 


New York 


25,962 


7,500 


1,132. 


4,775 


Champlaln 


6,407 


1,850 


32 


276 


Glens Falls and vicinity . 


12,272 


1,650 


100 


2,500 


Platteburg 


8,283 


4,000 


1.000 


2,000 


Totals 


417,877 


88,663 


2,616 


56,883 



f Two viUagea. 



* Estimated. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



U 



and his children do not generally take side with strikers when 
strikes occur, and for this reason the prejudices go against 
the law-abiding Canadian. Is it not probable that many of 
the informants of the Bureau were men who had already 
been engaged in strikes, and that Canadians did not follow 
them? And hence the malice. 

During the last ten years the Eastern States have received 
the greatest bulk of the Canadian immigration, and already 
we count over thirty churches built by them, many schools, 
and a great many are real estate owners. 

We have the statistics of thirty-two cities and villages 
where Canadians are to be found in great numbers. They 
are as follows : — 



Canadian 

HCllOOl 

children. 


Canadian 


Naturalized 


Canadlana 

holdinK 

publlo offlco. 


Canadian mer- 
chants and 


Canadian 


8chooU. 


Canadians. 


professional 
men. 


tradesmen. 


000 


9 


725 


3 


19 


198 


600* 


4 


475 


_ 


8 


60 


800 


5 


IbO 


3 


10 


104 


- 


- 


100 


- 


1 


44 


740 


3 


245 


6 


38 


89 


160 


2 


40 


- 


12 


20 


600 


_ 


180 


6 


21 


62 


90 


1 


25 


- 


6 


7 


7,863 


20 


1,633 


23 


325 


1,211 


2,000 


8 


200 


2 


14 


814 


30 


- 


30 


- 


1 


_ 


103 


1 


46 


_ 


2 


2 


4'i5 


1 


85 


- 


60 


31 


1,009 


1 


150 


5 


66 


91 


93 


- 


40 


1 


3 


6 


198 


1 


68 


1 


15 


39 


400 


1 


100 


- 


25 


80 


130 


1 


47 


- 


1 





150 


- 


30 


1 


1 


12 


250» 


1 


25 


- 


15 


16 


240 


- 


65 


1 


26 


- 


200 


_ 


20 


1 


4 


13 


626 


1 


104 


4* 


20 


16 


660 


2 


140 


4 


14 


40 


460 


1 


105 


- 


25 


34 


860 


1 


288 


3 


33 


69 


* 736 


4 


112 


8 


18 


814 


135 


1 


12 


- 


15 


40 


600 


3 


100 


8 


3 


274 


095 


2 


265 


7 


86 


80 


235 


1 


40 


5 


16 


26 


800 


1 


35 


1 


15 


2S 


160 


- 


40 


- 


5 


17 


300 


— 


150 


1 


60 


18 


!>,183 


2 


1,600 


7 


63 


123 


225 


1 


150 


3 


2 


46 


625 


1 


260 


3 


10 


18 


1,333 




1,200 


1 


61 


69 


13,406 


40 


4,480 


53 


549 


2,014 



90 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



.1 



What do we learn from these statistics ? 

These thirty-two different places have a population of 
417,877, and of this number 88,658 are Canadians — more 
than one-fifth of the whole. 

These 88,658 Canadians represent about 10,000 families, 
and of these we find that 2,516 have a home and own a house 
in the United States. More than twenty-five hundred I Is 
there a better signification that the Canadians are not wander- 
ing Jews, but that, on the contrary, they settle here to make 
a home ? 

Mark, gentlemen, that in certain towns the manufacturing 
companies oblige their employes to dwell in the tenements of 
the company ; that in many towns these companies do not 
sell land to individuals, and, consequently, in such places 
Canadians cannot become real estate owners. We shall com- 
pare two groups, for example : — 

Grosvenordale, Conn., has (including Mechanicsville) a 
population of 2,400 Canadians, and 12 real estate owners. 
At Gardner, Mass., where the Canadian population is only 
766, we have 73 real estate owners. 

Spencer, Mass., has 140 Canadian real estate owners, the 
Canadian population being 3,450. This number of Canadian 
real estate owners is astonishing when it is an acknowledged 
fact that the mass of these emigrants have been in the East- 
ern States during fifteen years only. It has been said in the 
report that the Canadians did not send their children to school, 
and that they try to evade the tenure of the law. This is 
given as a generality in the report. Now let us examine our 
statistics. We find that thirty-two towns or cities send 
56,883 children to the schools, and of this number 13,406, or 
23-j- per cent, are Canadian children. And we also find that 
these Canadians, called "the Chinese of the East," have 
religion enough, patriotism enough, to have forty French and 
English Catholic schools in these thirtj -two cities and towns. 

We acknowledge that some of the new comers, too poor, 
and unable to speak English, — and the wages being low, — 
art obliged to send children to the mills against the law of 
humanity, and, in Massachusetts, against the State law. But 
who is the most guilty? Is it not the manufacturer who 
gives employment to young children of eight or nine years of 
age for merely nominal salary ? These children, belonging 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



to poor families, are submittpni to a daily task of nine or ten 
hours, for thirty cents a clay. Why does not the manu- 
facturer cut the evil at its root, and refuse employment to 
these poor little ones, pay a little more to the adult members 
of these families, and give the children a chance to have an 
education? But no! These manufacturers complain of the 
ignorance of tho Canadian children, and they try to get them 
at their mills for a few cents a day. Yet, notwithstanding 
the opportunity offered by the cupidity of the manufacturer, 
few parents only evade the school law. 

Tho statistics above given demonstrate that Canadians 
send their children to school ; for more than twenty-two per 
cent of tho school children of thirty-two cities and towns are 
Canadians. 

The report says that Canadians do not care to vote, — 
another error. The informants had forgotten, probably, that 
the law requires a residence of five years in this country for 
an alien to become a citizen. In Massachusetts the law 
requires that a man to be a voter shall read the Constitution 
in the English language. In Rhode Island the law requires 
that a foreigner shall be a real estate owner to vote. In New 
Hampshire the Constitution says that no Catholic shall be 
elected to office. With such liberality — which is a real 
barrier to universal suffrage — it is yet surprising to see so 
many Canadians who are citizens of the United States. 

In these thirty-two cities and towns 4,480 Canadians are 
American citizens, and more than 53 of them hold public 
office. One is a member of the legislature of Connecticut, 
one is a town treasurer, many are aldermen, councilmen, 
selectmen, members of the school committee, etc. Many 
have declared already their intention to become citizens. 
Our national conventions, our newspapers, our local organiza- 
tions, urge on the question of citizenship with very satisfac- 
tory results. Let the young generation, which speaks the 
English language, grow a few years more, and politicians will 
have to count with us. 

The report says that Canadians live in a beggarly way. 
Very few of them do ; and it is acknowledged by our mer- 
chants, by our pastors, that Canadians spend every thing they 
earn for the food and clothing of their families. If it was 
not so, we should not see so many Canadians engaged in 
different trades. 



22 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



In the thirty-two cities and towns above mentioned, we 
find 549 merchants and professional men and 2,014 trades- 
men and clerks. These statistics are abundant evidence that 
the trade of the French Canadians is important. 

In fact, they have not inherited the economy and frugality 
of their ancestors. They are inclined to extravagance, and 
they scorn with indignation the expressions used in the 
report to describe falsely their way of living. Because they 
like to trade -where the French language is spoken, some 
merchants who do not employ French help may believe that 
Canadians live in a beggarly way, not buying much at their 
store. It is a great mistake, and the many Canadian dealers 
and clerks, and the American merchants in towns where no 
French Canadians are engaged in trade, could testify to the 
contrary. 

We believe we have shown, in the light of logical truth, 
the error of the report. As we have said before, informants 
have everywhere taken the exceptional for the generality; 
and for this reason the Canadians have protested publicly, as 
they now protest at this hearing, against the authenticity of 
the evidence on which the report was based. And they ask 
that the sense of justice of Mr. Wright be equal to the 
circumstances, that this report be acknowledged by him and 
the Bureau as a slander, and that in his next report he shall 
recognize that he has been deceived by informants prejudiced 
against the Canadian element. 

Canadians have been great factors in the prosperity of 
manufacturing interests. Steady workers and skilful, the 
manufacturers have benefited by their condition of poverty 
to reduce wages, and compete favorably with the industries 
of the Old World. 

Americans who study but one history ~ their own — do 
not know enough of the services rendered to their country by 
Canadians. In fact, nearly all the large cities of the Western 
States have been established by Canadians. Consult the 
historical societies of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and 
Minnesota, and you will learn to respect and admire the 
French Canadian element. 

From Langlade, the father of Wisconsin; Juneau, the 
founder of Milwaukee ; Joseph Robidon, the founder of St. 
Joe Mission ; Vital Guerin, the founder of St. Paul, Minn. ; 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



28 



Menard, first lieutenant governor of Illinois ; to Jean Louis 
Ldgare, the trader, who has persuaded Sitting Bull to sur- 
render to the United States authorities, — the list is long 
of the Canadians who have rendered famous the name of our 
national element. 

In the Eastern States we are from yesterday, and already 
we form quite an important element of the population. And, 
if we have not yet had the opportunity of illustrating our 
nationality by great historical de'eds, we try in our daily 
vocation of duty to obtain the respect and consideration of 
our fellow-citizens by our loyalty to State constitutions and 
municipal laws, and by our good behavior. 

All we want is the freedom guaranteed to all citizens, and 
we want protection against such slanders as the informants 
of the Bureau have laid upon us. 

Public spirited citizens whose honor sustains no stain, we 
have protested, and do here solemnly protest, against the 
expressions and sentiments of the informants of the Bureau. 
In the name of justice and respect of decency we ask that 
the report be corrected so that it shall place our national ele- 
ment in the true light in which we stand, — loyal and honor- 
able citizens. 

Mr. Dubuque. Now, gentlemen, before we proceed fur- 
ther, I would like to make a remark in regard to the ten-hour 
law in Massachusetts. The people are under an impression 
that this ten-hour law applies to everybody in Massachusetts. 
The first law relating to ten hours of labor in Massachusetts 
was passed in 1842, chap. 60, sects. 3 and 4. That law pro- 
vided that no child under ten years of age should be employed 
more than ten hours per day, and the penalty was i50 fine 
for a violation of the law. That law has been incorporated 
in the General Statutes, chap. 42, sect. 3, published in 1860. 
Later, in 1867, by statute of 1867, 285, sects. 1, 2, 3, and 4, 
it was provided that no child under fifteen years of age should 
be employed more than sixty hours per week. That is the 
progress of the ten-hour law in this State. Under the stat- 
ute of 1842 no child under ten years shall be employed more 
than ten hours a day, and thence to 1867, when the law pro- 
vides that no child under fifteen shall be employed more than 
sixty hours per week. Then influence brought to bear on 
the legislature caused the so-called ten-hour law to be passed 



I 



24 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



in 1874. It provides that " no child under eighteen years of 
age, and no woman over that age, shall be employed in the 
manufactures more than ten hours per day." It does not say 
that no man shall be employed. It does not apply to men. 
The manufacturer has no right to employ a child under eigh- 
teen years or a woman of any age more than sixty hours per 
week, having the right to divide the hours of labor so that 
they will not amount to more than sixty hours per week. 

Now, in 1876 there came a continuation of that same prog- 
ress ; and the legislature of 1876 by chap. 52, sects. 1, 2, 3, 
and 4, enacted, " no child under ten years shall be employed 
at all in the manufactories, and no child under fourteen years 
shall be employed unless he attend school twenty weeks in a 
year." 

Then in 1878, by chap. 171, sect. 1, the legislature author- 
ized the school committees to approve private schools, the 
teaching as well in private schools as in public schools — and 
then, in 1879, struck the word " wilful " out of the ten-hour 
law, so that it might be more effectually enforced. 

So we are to understand that the law applies to children 
under eighteen, and also to women. It does not apply to 
men. It is not a law which forbids the manufacturers from 
employing men more than ten hours a day. Of course it 
was one way of getting at the object in view, but still we 
want to understand the law as it is. Now, if Mr. Gagnon 
will be kind enough to give us his statistics. 

Mr. Gagnon. The statistics have been given in bulk in 
my remarks. I have them here, and they can bo consulted 
by the Bureau ; the questions are here, and the answers.^ 

Mr. Dubuque. Will you please state to the Bureau how 
you have proceeded in order to get these reports, so we may 
get at the way in which you have collected the statistics ? 

Mr. Gagnon. These blanks were addressed to some 
prominent citizen, and the response came from him. 

Q, You have printed how many circulars, and sent to the 
various towns ? 

A. I have thirty-two answers here. 

Q. You have senc a great number ? 

A. I have sent forty-four. That is all. 

1 In this report of the hearing, these statistics have been presented in tabu- 
lar form in connection with Mr, Gagnon's remarks, 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



25 



Q. And these circulars have been printed by you ? 
A. By me. 

Q. At your office in Worcester, and sent to the most 
prominent French citizens that you knew in the various 
towns ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And you have received the answers which you have 
given? 

A. Yes, sir ; they are signed. 

Mr. Dubuque. We want to state further that we have 
evidence to offer on this point; it is stated that we are 
opposed to the ten-hour law. 

Mr. Wright. No ; I think there is no such statement. 

Mr. Dubuque. " The third objection to the ten hours is 
the presence of the Canadian French." 

Mr. Wright. I do not think it is stated anywhere that 
the French Canadians have opposed the law. 

Mr. Dubuque. No ; but that their presence is opposed to 
the ten-hour law. Now, we want to state what the action of 
the Canadians has been in Massachusetts, and why they have 
not entered into that movement. 

Mr. Wright. To set you right, so that there shall be no 
misunderstpnding, let me say that, as I understood the tes- 
timony, the presence of the French Canadians was urged as 
an objection to the ten-hour law on account of their migratory 
customs and habits which it has alleged they had ; not on 
account of any movement of their own, but that manufac- 
turers objected tj taking up any reformatory movements for 
the elevation of a people that were not going to stay among 
them. 

Mr. Dubuque. I want to state this, which will bear upon 
the question, as you will see in a moment, that what brought 
about the ten-hour law in 1874 — I have lived in Fall River 
for ten years, and know something about these things — what 
brought about this ten-hour law in 1874 was started b}'^ a great 
movement In Fall River, first by a strike, — the argument be- 
ing by intimidation, violation of law, rows, public demonstra- 
tions, which were converting the whole city into a state 
of rebellion. Now we want to introduce evidence to show 
that the Canadian French, wherever a strike has taken place, 
wherever any of these public demonstrations against law and 



w 



26 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



m ■ 



order in any place have been made, have never taken part in 
the movement, and have staid at home like good law-abiding 
citizens ; in a measure that has created a prejudice against 
them, ajid made other nationalities believe that they were 
opposed to a ten-hour law, while, on the contrary, they were 
staying at home like good law-abiding citizens, not wanting 
to be mixed up in any breach of the peace. 

Mr. Wright. You will introduce testimony, if I under- 
stand you, to show that the French Canadians, on account of 
their non-participation in strikes, have incurred the enmity 
of agitators? 

Mr. Dubuque. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Wright. What are known as " labor reformers " ? 

Mr. Dubuque. Yes-, sir. 

Mr. Wright. Do you think any testimony from them 
would be particularly unfriendly to the French ? 

Mr. Dubuque. Yes, sir, by reason of their abstaining from 
taking part in any of these movements in which were mixed 
up these violations of law. The French people have kept 
away, have been advised by their ministers, by their leaders, 
to keep away, to keep within the law, and to respect the laws 
of the Commonwealth. That has been the reason why they 
have not entered into this movement; and it has given the 
opinion that they were opposed to it, or that their presence 
was an objection to it. 

Mr. Wright. I want to ask Mr. Gagnon if it has been 
the policy of the French Canadians in the United States or 
of the leaders, those whom you might call the principal men, 
to advocate the doctrine of repatriation ? 

Mr. Gagnon. Yes, sir ; I have been an agent, myself. 

Q. That has been the policy ? 

A. That has been the policy, to take out from this coun- 
try families which, it was evident, would not succeed in the 
mills. 

Q. Is that the policy now ? 

A. Every thing is stopped. The government of the 
Province of Quebec have no more subsidy to repatriate with, 
so, for two years, nothing has been done ; and it is the reason 
it partially failed. 

Q. They are now, after that failure, feeling more perma- 
nent, and even some of those are returning who had repatri- 
ated? 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



27 



A. Well, some are returning, yet but few repatriated ; and 
during the repatriation movement the Canadians were just 
as anxious to stay as since : we could not repatriate them in 
large numbers, I mean. 

Mr. Dubuque. For the information of this Bureau, it 
would be well to state, also, that the condition of the French 
now is different from what it was five,"^ or six, or ten, years 
ago. The French to-day have become more familiar with 
the institutions, and more familiar with the language and the 
ways of living, of the American people, than they were five or 
ten years ago when they first came. For instance, in Fall 
River we had, about ten years ago, some five hundred French 
citizens : to-day we have eleven thousand in a population of 
forty-nine thousand, 

Mr. Wright. Mr. Gagnon, are there places either in New 
York or Connecticut, for instance, — because it was from 
those States that the testimony came to us principally, — are 
there places in those two States where the statements made 
to the Bureau would be applicable to any great extent, or 
even applicable during the last ten years? 

Mr. Gagnon. It may be, sir, in those States, because 
the people have migrated more from these factory places on 
account of the failure of the Spragues. They were obliged 
to go to othCi: places on account of the failure of these mills, 
and they lost considerable money in Baltic on account of that 
failure ; they had money deposited in the banks, and were 
losers. 

Q. Is it your idea that the financial depressions following 
the year 1873 had an influence in bringing about the condi- 
tions alleged in the report? 

A. Yes, sir, and also that in Connecticut villages the 
manufacturer is the king of the place, and they cannot own 
land as in Massachusetts, and in Maine, and in New York, 
without being citizens. 

Q. You mean, they cannot be citizens without being real 
estate owners ? 

A. I mean, that, should their death occur, if they were 
not citizens the State can claim their real estate. 

Rev. Father Millet of Nashua. The Canadian Gov- 
ernment, — and I look upon this point as important, as bear- 
ing upon the question, — the Canadian Government, not only 



:ii 



28 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



1: 

i 



here, but in the different countries of Europe, — I have seen 
them myself, in England, in Belgium, and iu France, estab- 
lish agencies, with well-paid officials, endeavoring to draw 
towards Canadr, a current of immigration ; and here, in the 
States ao well as in Europe, these agencies were established. 
What kind of success they were in Europe, it is not the ques- 
tion ; but in the States it is well to note down that it was a 
total failure. That is, not perfectly total, but by an immense 
majority it was a failure, so much so that the government has 
ceased to subsidize these agencies. 

Mr. Wright. If I understand you, the attempt was made 
by the Canadian Government to repatriate French Canadians 
from the United States ? 

Father Millet. Yes, sir ; not only that, but great induce- 
ments were offered if they would return ; and some of them 
did return, but of those who did go a certain proportion re- 
turned to the States again, and in a majority of places the 
thing was a total failure, so much so, that the subsidy which 
was given has been withdrawn. 

Q. So that the work of repatriation has ceased ? 

A. It is the desire of the government that they should 
return, but it has ceased to pay ; though it encourages immi- 
gration to all parts of Canada, it has ceased to subsidize 
these agencies. 

Q. Now, let me ask you, Father Millet, one other ques- 
tion, because you seem to be the best man to ask it of, has 
it been the policy of the Church to which the French Cana- 
dians mostly belong in Canada, to urge repatriation now or 
at any time w'thin the past ten years ? 

A. The Church in Canada, as represented by its bishops 
and priests, has done all in its power to stop immigration ; but 
that was at the first. 

Q. How does the establishment of French Catholic 
churches in America affect the permanency of the French 
people here ? 

A. It brings on what in Canada was feared, because in 
Canada they said this was a greal; evil for the country, the 
constant flowing out of the country of the population ; they 
desired the people to remain there, and, when we priests 
were sent ig^tc the States to attend to their spiritual wants, 
it was only then that they saw what the result of their action 
was, and that they could not bold the French among them. 



h 



I 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



29 



Q. Now, am I right in this opinion, that during the last 
five years the condition of the French Canadians, with refer- 
ence to their policy of repatriation and their desire to better 
themselves, has been in a transition state? that is, that it 
has been a crucial period with the French Canadians, — is 
that true ? 

A. I should consider that for the moment the question 
of repatriation is not given up, but partially so. 

Q. I do not mean that particularly ; but, have the French 
been in a transition state, during the past five years, as the 
result of the establishment and failure of the repatriation 
system and the gradual establishment of churches here ? 

A. I should consider that especially for the last five years 
this has been partially so. I look upon it now as a permanent 
population. 

Q. And that that permanency has just begun to take pos- 
itive form ? 

Q. You mean, take it from ten years back ? 

Mr. Gagnon. From the establishment of our churches ? 

Q. (By Mr. Wright.) From the establishment of the 
French Canadian churches in America, — the permanency of 
the French population began ? 

Father Millet. The permanency of the French popula- 
tion was secured. 

Mr. Dubuque. While we are on that point we might 
well call Mr. Lalime of Worcester, who has been an agent of 
the government. 

Mr. Lalime. I wish to tell you what I know personally 
about this immigration matter. I have been appointed agent 
by the Federal Government of Canada in 1875, and I am still 
the Federal Government's agent for the New England States, 
— that is, what you might call the repatriation agent. I wish 
to state this, that, as stated a few minutes ago by the Rev. 
Father Millet, this repatriation is almost a failure, if it is not 
a total failure. Why? Because we have work in the New 
England States, because everybody finds occupation, and our 
Canadians will not go West, or a very few of them. For the 
last four years, gentlemen, for the last three years, we cer- 
tainly have not sent from New England, more than, I should 
say, thirty families, — I mean, sent to Canada or any one of the 
provinces of Canada, or to Manitoba. Quite a number from 



w 



Vi 



v' 



-A 



80 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



the other side have gone to settle in Minnesota end Dakota. 
And I wish to state, inasmuch as I understood that Mr. 
Wright wanted to find out if our clergy were in favor of 
immigration or repatriation to Canada, — I wish to say this, 
that but very few of our clergymen in the New England 
States have favored that movement. 

Mr. Wright. My point was this, if you will allow me to 
interrupt you a moment : whether the French clergy in New 
England or America had not acknowledged public influence 
here and in Canada in this matter of repatriation ? 

Mr. Lalime. Yes, sir, that is just what I want to say, and 
that I can prove. We have but very few clergymen in New 
England who have favored the repatriation movement. Far 
from it : they have always done what they could to have our 
people settle permanently here, and get naturalized and become 
citizens. That we can prove, any of us can prove, in every 
parish. So that repatriation is almost a dead letter to-day. 

Mr. Dubuque. I will call upon Father Bedard of Fall 
River, if he will be kind enough to give us some statements 
on the question of immigration. He is a member of the 
clergy, and has the charge of a parish in Fall River ; and I 
will ask him to state whether or not, in his opinion, the 
founding of parishes for the French Canadians in the States 
has not tended to make the Canadians settle more perma- 
nently in the States ? 

Rev. Father B. J. B. Bedard. On that matter I can say 
that for my own part, and knowing the action of my friends 
of the clergy, we did respect that desire in Canada ; but at 
the same time we did not fight against the people wishing to 
stay in the States. More than that, the French clergymen 
in the United States, as can be proved by acts and resolu- 
tions, did favor the title " citizen " and naturalization. It is 
quite natural for the clergy in Canada to desire the people 
living in Canada to stay there ; but I do believe the Amer- 
ican clergymen will be the first to raise their voice in favor 
of the permanent settlement of American citizens in the 
United States. But we, becoming citizens in the United 
States or not becoming citizens, we do respect the desire of 
the American population, and we do favor it, as is proved by 
our conventions not only in the State of Massachusetts but 
in all the conventions in the other States. So I believe, Mr. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



81 



Wright, you will have a good opinion of the influence of the 
clergy on the people in that matter, and I believe everybody 
will be inclined to give credit to the clergy on that ques- 
tion. 

Mr. Dubuque. I would ask you, Father Bedard, how 
many were real estate owners in the city of Fall River, 
where you founded a parish, before you came there, in that 
particular portion included in your parish ? 

Father Bedard. Very few, very few. 

Q. Can you state about how many, to the best of your 
knowledge, there are now in your parish ? 

A. I did give the answer in writing to Mr. Gagnon : we 
have DOW about one hundred. 

Mr. Wright. Out of a parish of how many members ? 

Father Bedard. In my parish about a hundred French 
Canadians own property, real estate ; and I encourage this, 
myself, any time I can do it. And more than that, one or 
more bishops, coming from Canada (to Woonsocket, R.I.) 
lately, did say the same to the people living here, who intend 
to live here, to have property, to encourage the progress of 
this country, and so forth. 

Q. You do not hesitate to assert, then, fully, that the in- 
fluence of the French Church in America to-day is in favor 
of permanency, and against the policy of repatriation ? 

A. Here in the United States ? 

Q. Here in the United States. 

A. Yes, sir, I do believe so. 

Q. While, in the past, the influence of the French Cath 
olic Church of Canada has been in favor of repatriation ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Mr. Gagnon. On that question of repatriatic^.i, — it was 
movement begun in 1875. A vote of the legislature of Que- 
bec was passed granting a subsidy of sixty thousand dollars 
to promote this movement of immigration. And this money 
was not only intended for the Canadians in t^ie States; it 
was intended for the immigrants from Europe, and for the 
families of th^i farmers of the Province of Queboc who wished 
to make new homes on new lands. After that year a sub- 
sidy of ten thousand dollars was granted by the legislature, 
and it stopped there. We sent, — I was the agent of the 
government at that time, — we sent about six hundred fami- 



^1 



\y ; 



hi 



ili 



m 



11 ti! 



82 



STATISTICS OP LABOR. 



lies to Canada, and about three hundred, only, staid there. 
The other three hundred did not settle, but came back to 
this country, or, if they did not come to this country, did not 
settle on the land given for the purpose by the government. 
The grant was this : the government of Quebec gave one hun- 
dred acres of land for the sum of sixty dollars, and built a 
log house, and cleared about four acres of the land. This, 
with the price of the land, amounted to two hundred dollars. 
The settler had to pay twelve dollars during five years with 
interest, and the remaining one hundred and forty dollars in 
ten years without interest. That is all that was done for 
the purpose of repatriation. Three years after, I myself sent 
my letter of declination, my resignation, to the government 
of Quebec, because I saw it was not necessary to maintain 
an agent here for nothing, as no money had been appropri- 
ated since three years for that purpose. Of course it is just 
that the Province of Quebec wishes to have as many of her 
children as she can have. She wants them to return, if pos- 
sible ; but there has been no other urging but this action 
partially devoted to the Canadians in the United States to 
repatriate them. Certainly, gentlemen, there are families 
here who cannot succeed in the mills, who cannot make a 
home, make a future for themselves and their children ; and 
we, knowing that, try to take out those families, and settle 
them in Canada, or in the Western States, on land to culti- 
vate. It is not so much repatriation to the Province of Que- 
bec we want, as to draw those families from the mills, and 
settle them on land. They were farmers before coming here, 
and we think that, trying again under more favorable circum- 
stances, they would make a better future for their families. 

Mr. Dubuque. Now, gentlemen of this Bureau, I only 
want to state another thing on this question of immigration, 
and then we will proceed to some other matter. The most 
overwhelming fact that we can bring to bear on this ques- 
tion is, that for the last ten years, in every plaoe where 
the French have settled, it is a known fact that they have 
doubled, if not trebled, in population. Now, if they were 
coming here and earning money, and going back to Canada, 
how could it be possible that the population would double and 
treble in such a short time ? It must be that there is a new 
influx from Canada right along, and that those who are here 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



38 



stay here continuously. Now, we are prepared to show by 
various witnesses that it is the minority, 9he very small num- 
ber, that go back. Some will go back, will he dissatisfied ; 
a great many of them, as Mr. Lalime has said, go to Mon- 
tana, Dakota, Kansas, and the Western States ; and others go 
to Canada, where they think they can do better. Now, we 
have a gentleman here from Marlborough, Mr. Aldrich, who 
has been kind enough to come here and give testimony in 
relation to this matter. There is a delegation, I should say, 
from Marlborough, and I will call upon Mr. Aldrich first. 

Hon. S. N. Aldrich said : I was requested this morning, 
iu behalf of some of my Canadian friends in Marlborough, to 
come up here and say a word. I can only say that, so far as 
the French Canadians of Marlborough are concerned, they 
are a quiet, peaceful, industrious, and temperate class among 
us. If you should go to Marlborough with me, you would see, 
in the place where they live, what is called " French Hill," 
and other parts of the town, some of the best residences in 
the town occupied by French. They have a splendid church ; 
there are many merchants among them, dry goods merchants, 
provision dealers, and men engaged in all sorts of business. 
It is a fact, as will appear from the papers that will be pre- 
sented to you, the statistics, that the French of Marlborough 
are a quiet, temperate people, industrious, and as good as any 
of our citizens. We have some two thousand of them there, 
and all of them are at work, enjoying themselves, building 
homes, and, in fact, about all of them have homes, — and none 
of them have poor homes ; they are all good houses. If a 
stranger went through our town to-day, and saw the homes of 
the workmen, he would come back and ask where our poor 
people are. They are all doing well, and enjoying themselves. 
I don't know as I can add any thing more to the statistics 
which will be presented to you from the clergymen and traders 
and others in regard to them. 

Mr. Dubuque. You are an ex-senator of the State, I 
believe. 

Mr. Aldrich. I wes a senator three years ago. 

Q. Now, Mr. Aldrich, how long has that condition of the 
French people, as you have stated, existed in Marlborough, — 
about when did they first come there to settle, to your best 
recollection? 



■■',,■ 



*i 



84 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



A. Well, sir, I went to Marlborough some seventeen years 
ago. At that tini» there were a very few French Canadians 
there, and from that time up to the present they have been 
continuously coming, so that to-day our Canadian population 
is about one-fifth, I think, of the whole. 

Q. Now, what is their desire or inclination to take part in 
any political movements, or getting naturalized, or any thing 
like that? Do they take part in public affairs? 

A. They have taken part. We have made them select- 
men ; we have put them on the school committee, and we 
have recognized them as good citizens of Marlborough. 

Q. How have they proved as citizens of Marlborough, 
what is their record, — those who have been elected to public 
office, whether as school committee men or as selectmen, — 
what is their record ? 

A. Perfectly good, sir. They have discharged their duties 
in any office as well as any of us, sir. I believe one of the 
gentlemen who was elected on the Board of Selectmen 
declined to serve, or he could have been elected again. 

Q. Now, what is tlieir condition as regards education ? 

A. Well, sir, we think they are educated too much in our 
town, for the benefit of the town financially, — they have to 
have too many schoolhouses. They fill up our schoolhouses, 
sir. Our low schools have been sixty or seventy or even one 
hundred in number, so that to-day the town of Marlborough 
is expending forty thousand dollars for schoolhouses on 
account of this population. I don't know as they increase 
faster than we Yankees do, but I think they must. 

Q. Whether you have observed the French people outside 
of Marlborough, or outside of the State of Massachusetts? 

A. My experience has not been very great in tha,t direc- 
tion. I only know them practically in Marlborough. 

Mr. Wright. The French Canadians of Marlborough, if 
I am properly informed, are employed in the shoe manu- 
factories ? 

Mr. Aldrioh. Wholly in the shoe manufactories. 

Q. Are you connected with the school committee ? 

A. I am not now connected with it ; I have been con- 
nected with it for a long time. 

Hon. Charles Q. Tirrell then said: Mr. Chairman, I 
have the honor of representing, in the State Senate, the dis- 



m 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



86 



trict of which Marlborough forms a piut, at the present time ; 
and, as of necessity and in the interest of my constituents, I 
have taken considerable interest in this question, in its ex- 
amination and its presentation ; I have been requested by the 
French people, although I do not desire to obtrude myself, to 
present some facts at this hearing in reference to the various 
points which are to be considered. 

Now, in the first place, I desire to present, Mr. Chairman, 
some testimony in regard to the matter of schools, upon which 
you asked the Hon. Mr. Aldrich a few questions. I have here 
a few letters relative to the public schools, and I think that 
they demonstrate, if the testimony of the school committee 
of the town of Marlborough, if the testimony of the business 
men of the town of Marlborough, if the testimony of the 
school teachers of the town of Marlborough, is of any value 
or force, that a better class of children the teachers do not 
desire, nor the school committee themselves.^ 

Now, in regard to the criminal statistics of the town of 
Marlborough. It has been stated by Mr. Aldrich that the 
French population of the town of Marlborough is about two 
thousand, or one-fifth of our entire population. Now, let us 
see how many cases have been brought before the trial justice 
of that town for the violation of the laws of the Common- 
wealth. The number of criminal cases brought before him 
from Oct. 1, 1880, to Oct. 1, 1881, was 383 ; the number of 
French nationality, 48, — that is, one-fifth of the population, 
and only one-tenth of the criminality, is French. 

Now, we will see how it is about their being a burden upon 
the community, a curse to any town or village where they 
may happen to be located, so far as the town being compelled 
to assist them is concerned. From the report of the overseers 
of the poor it appears that the total amount paid out by the 
town for the assistance of the poor, — as I understand it, in 
1880-81, although the year is not stated here, — was 13,680.42 ; 
paid to people of French nationality, 1496.81. 

The real estate and personal property of the town of Marl- 
borough is about as follows : total $3,720,166, and the French 
people possess 1138,970. Poll-tax payers, 2,626; French, 
863. The French constitute one-fifth of the population ; they 
receive fourteen per cent of the aid which is given to the 
poor. They have four per cent of the wealth of the town. 

^ The letters presented by Mr. Tirrell appear at the close of his statement. 



80 STATISTICS OF LABOR. 

We have a perfect mass of testimony here from the business 
men of the town of Marlborough that we propose to submit. 
It would take up too much valuable time to read this 
testimony here ; but the committee desire me to leave these 
letters from the manufacturers of Marlborough, from the 
grocers, from the tailors, from the men in every department 
of the industries of life, which all go to show by an over- 
whelming and an irrefutable accumulation of evidence that 
the French people of the town of Marlborough are as desir- 
able a class as any that exists within its borders. 

Mr. Tirrell filed resolutions passed by the French Cana- 
dians of Marlborough, June 13, 1881, similar to those 
already printed from Lowell and Hudson. These resolutions 
were signed by Rev. J. Z. Dumontier, Dr. J. A. Trembley, 
Onesime Levasseur, Jonas Gregoire, Charles Favreau, Louis 
B. Talbot, Leon Burgess, committee on resolutions. 

Mr. Tirrell also submitted letters (referred to in his 
remarks) from prominent parties in Marlborough, among 
others the following : — * 



Hon. Cabboll D. Wright. 



Marlborough, October, 1881. 



l!.fc 



Dear Sir, — Having read what you have wi'itten in the Report of the 
Statistics of Labor concerning the Canadian French in the State, I have 
been requested to give my opinion of them as they are in Marlborough. 
We have here in town a Canadian French population, I should judge to- 
day, of a thousand or more, — about a hundred and seventy-five legal 
voters, and some seventy- five real estate owners. Having been in trade 
in town from twenty to twenty-five years, and having had a large share 
of their trade, I have had a good opportunity to judge of their habits, etc. 
I cannot say what class of Canadian French there may be in other places ; 
but your article does not do them justice here. 

As a class, in Marlborough, they compare favorably with any other. 
Of com-se there are individual exceptions. During our civil war there 
might not have been many in town at that time naturalized; but a num- 
ber enlisted in the service, though v e had a much smaller French popula- 
tion than at present. But since that time, as the young men have grown 
up, they stay with us, buy real estate, become citizens, and are indus- 
trious. Many of the feiailies that came here twenty years ago are here 
to-day, and take an interest in our affairs. 

Having had an experience with the children as a member of the school 
committee, I have not found any more truants from that nationality than 
any other. I can recollect many of the brightest aud most interesting of 
the schclars were French. Many of the French children work in our 
■hoe factories; but in my experience I have never found that the parents 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



87 



wish to evade the laws about sending their children to school. They 
have seemed to me to desire to have the children at school, as a rule. 
Poverty in some cases has brought them so that the help of their children 
was needed ; yet, when the heads of families were able to educate their 
children, as a rule, they wished to have their children go to school. 

So far as their living in a beggarly way, it is not true of the Canadians 
in this town. As a class they live well, and, as the facts will prove, save, 
and invest in real estate. The French like amusement, yet I do not 
think they carry it to excess any more than other nationalities. They 
seem to enjoy life, yet, after all, as it is here, many of them become good 
citizens, and reflect credit on themselves and the town. 

Yours very truly, 

(Signed) E. L. BIGELOW. 

Mablboroctoh, Mass., Oct. 17, 1881. 
To whom it may concern: 

This is to certify that in my acquaintance with the French Canadian 
people of this town, I Bnd them, as a class, honest, industrious, and 
taking an active part in the welfare of the town. Many of them natural- 
ized, realizing what it is to vote, demand their rights with as much 
promptness as any other class of people. Also many of them own real 
estate, which is strong evidence that they have come amongst us to r i.nain 
and make homes for themselves and children. 

Respectfully submitted. 

(Signed) JAMES T. MURPHY, 

One of the Selectmen of Marlborough. 

Marlborough, Mass., Oct. 24, 1881. 

This is to certify that, as merchants of this place with many yeara' 
experience, we hold the trade of the French people of this town and vicin- 
ity in such esteem that we encourage our salesmen to learn French so as 
to increase our trade with the older folks of this nationality who may 
not speak English readily. 

The French residents of this town and their descendants furnish a 
large percentage of our customers. They are good judges of values, ap- 
preciative of new styles and novelties, and, in proportion to their num- 
bers, are good buyers of all classes of dry goods. To lose their patron- 
age would be a calamity. 

(Signed) HOWE & STETSON. 



f 



Marlbobouoh, Oct. 18, 1881. 

During the past ten years we have counted the French residents of 
Marlborough and vicinity as amongst our best customers, and find them, 
as a role, very particular as to style and quality, and willing to pay good 
prices if they find what they want. 

(Signed) C W. COSGROVE. 



■ TJ?^ 



88 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



Mablbo&ougb, Mass., Oct. 21, 1881. 
To vjhom it may eoneern: 

This is to certify that I, Charles Mowry, police officer of the town of 
Marlborough, am called upon to perform duty in the section of the town 
called " French Hill " —it being occupied by French Canadians. I find 
them a quiet and a law-abiding class of people ; disturbance of any kind 
is of rare occurrence, and those caused principally by strangers. I never 
was interfered with in the performance of my duty by them. I consider 
them a first-class sort of people. 

Respectfully submitted- 

(Signed) CHAS. MOWRY. 

MARLBOBonoB, Oct. 12, 1881. 
To all whom it may concern : 

This is to certify that I have employed Canadian French for near a 
quarter of a century, and that I have always been pleased with them. I 
have found them obedient, quiet, and, in fact, they compare favorably 
with any I have ever employed. 

(Signed) JOHN O'CONNELL, 

Manufacturer of Boots and Shoes. 

Marlborouoh, Oct. 17, 1881. 

Having, in the course of several years' service on the school commit- 
tee of the town of Marlborough, become familiar with the pupils attend- 
ing the public schools in that town, among whom every year may be 
found hundreds of children of French Canadian parentage, I can truly 
assert from actual observation that these children have in the past and do 
now compare favorably with their mates of other parentage in intel- 
ligence, morality, and deportment. 

The French Canadian children are very apt, and manifest in a high 
degi-ee the desirable characteristics of industry and perseverance. 

In my official capacity I have frequently come in contact with the par- 
ents of these children, and they have at all times shown great interest in 
the cause of education, and ever have been anxious that the young of 
their community should receive the benefits to be derived from our educa- 
tional institutions. 

(Signed) JAMES N. McDONALIi, 

Of the School Board of Marlborough. 



Marlborouor, Mass., Oct. 25, 1881. 
To whom it may concern: 

This is to certify that, as a member of the school committee of this 
to\m for two years, during which time I had under my special charge 
several schools of the primary grade largely composed of French Cana- 
dian children, I have uniformly found this class bright, docile, and teach- 
able in every respect. Their reputation for good conduct was always 
excellent, also, among our teachers, 

(Signed) R. D. PRATT. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



S9 



To idhom it ma^/ concern : 

This is to certify, that in no manner have the pupils of French Cana- 
dian birth or descent caused special difRoulty to the teachers of our public 
schools. Except in the most extreme cases, I cjvn safely acknowledge 
them to be keen, quick-witted, and remarkably obedient. Teachers 
individually amply testify that their relations with said pupils have been 
especially pleasant. 

In our section, at present, the majority of the pupils in question are 
specially apt and agreeable to training. I can recall no case, during ray 
experience, in which even one of said pupils has committed any violent 
breach of good manners. 

In conclusion, the French Canadian pupils in our department are not 
conspicuous on account of any baneful characteristics. 

Most respectfully submitted. 
(Signed) ELLEN A. O'CONNELL, 

Washington Street Department of the Public Schools of Marlborough. 

I can cheerfully indorse every word of the above statement, so far aa 
my departments are concerned. 

(Signed) J. V. JACKMAN, 

_ Master of Pleasant Street Schools. 



high 



Maulboboogh, Mass., Oct. 14, 1881. 
To whom it may concern : 

This is to certify, that in the capacity of Treasurer of the Marlborough 
Savings Bank, I have constant dealings with the French citizens of this 
town both as depositors and borrowers, and I uniformly find them an 
honest, industrious, and money saving people. 

(Signed) ED\\ARD R. ALLEY, 

Treasurer of the Marlborough Savings Bank. 

Marlborough, Mass., Oct. 24, 1881. 
Louis B. Talt.ot, Esq. 

Dear Sir, — In reply to your ir i uiry as to my knowledge of a disposi- 
tion extant among our Frencii citizens of Marlborough to hoard their 
earnings under any probable contingency of a return to their native 
country, I must of necessity return you a negative answer. My business 
relations with our French population cover a period of eleven years and 
upwards; and the goods in which I deal being distinctive from what 
might be termed the necessaries of life, enables me to meet your inquiry 
more broadly perhaps than any other trader here could. 

From positive knowledge, I can say, that in proportion to their means 
they spend their money as freely as those of any other nationality, in 
providing the essential comforts and luxuries for their homes. I find also 
that a very large proportion of those with whom I came in contact ten 
and eleven years ago are still living here, and many of them have either 
erected or purchased homes that they own; and, so far as outward evi- 
dence exists, they are as permanently located as any other class, not even 
excepting the Yankees. And, in connection with the defence you are to 



4a 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



make, it may not be out of place to add a further word as tr my knowl- 
edge of their general character. My business connection^, with them 
have been quite extended, and my experience justifies the statement that, 
80 far as discharging their debt obligations are concerned, they are usu- 
ally actuated by a high sense of honor. 

I have found them considerate, just, disposed to deal fairly, and sel- 
dom resorting to any trickery to avoid discharging an obligation. In 
fact, they are a people (and I think all our traders will bear me out in 
the assertion) with whom it is very pleasant to meet in the business 
affairs of every day life. 

Trusting my reply may meet your inquiry, 

I remain yours truly, 
(Signed) J. W. POPE. 



] ■; 



Letters of similar tenor were also submitted, signed by Miss 
Evsk S. C. Wheelock, and Miss Hattie E. Brigham, school 
teachers, and Messrs. Samuel Boyd, Sidney G. Fay, John L. 
Stone, William Barnes, John Rock, Brigham & Eager, and 
H. G. Fay, all of Marlborough. 

Mr. TiRRELL (in closing). I think that is all that I wish to 
present ; but there are other citizens of Marlborough, French 
people and others, who, perhaps, would like to say a word. 
I would call upon Mr. Timothy A. Coolidge. 

Mr. TiRRELL. Where do you reside? 

Mr. CooLrooE. Marlborough. 

Q. How long have you lived there ? 

A. Twenty-two years. 

Q. What is your business there ? 

A. Manufacturer of shoes. 

Q. How extensively are you engaged in that manufacture ? 

A. I employ about three hundred persons, making about 
twenty-five hundred or three thousand pairs a day. 

Q. Have you carried on such a business as that for a 
number of years in the town of Marlborough ? 

A. Perhaps ten years. 

Q. During this period, whether or not you have employed 
a large number of French Canadian people in that town ? 

A. I think I have employed as large a share of French 
people as any of the factories, perhaps more so, or as much 
so, at any rate. I have a large share of French people, be- 
ing in that part of the town where the French people mostly 
reside. 

Q. How many should you say you had in your employ at 
thel'present time ? 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



41 



A. I should say there were one hundred. 

Q. Now, Mr. Coolidge, what have you to say relative ^o 
their habits of industry ? 

A. Well. I have always considered them as having good 
habits of industry, as good as any class I have had in my 
employ; and, out of the factory, I don't see but they are the 
same. 

Q. How as to their intelligence, and aptness for work ? 

A. That is very good. Their mechanical skill is good ; 
they are quick to see into any thing, and to take hold of any 
thing; they are quick, and they are always willing to do 
whatever is required. 

Q. How do the French people of Marlborough stand in 
the community there, as citizens ? 

A. I think they are recognized the same as any other 
class of citizens. 

Q. Whether or not they take an interest in public affairs 
in the town of Marlborough ? 

A. They do, and I think they generally show more in- 
terest than do a great many others. 

Q. How about their habits through the town at large, — 
whether they are public violators of law, or otherwise, — I 
mean, take them as a class generally in the community ? 

A. Well, take them as a class, I consider them on an 
average with the other people. I live right among them. I 
live in a part of the town that most of the French live in ; 
there are a number of the families on the street, and they are 
just as good neighbors as any neighbors I could have. I 
would not wish to change for any neighbors of Yankee 
people or Irish. They are good neighbors. Their children 
attend school ; they dress well ; they are economical, and 
attend church regularly as any other class of people, and they 
are just as quiet on Sundays. I have a chance to see that, 
because I live right amongst them. 

Q. Any thing further, Mr. Coolidge, that you desire to 
say? 

A. I do not know that there is any thing particular. There 
has been something said here in regard to strikes amongst the 
French people. Now, of course, in my own factory, I have 
had a great number of strikes, but I don't think, — and I 
have noticed it during the last three or four years when I 

6 



4i2 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 






• 



have employed more French, — I don't think I have hftd the 
strikes in my factory that there have been in others. Of 
course, when there is a strike in the factory, the French must 
fall in, necessarily, — they could not do any other way and 
have peace, — but I am satisfied that I have not had the 
strikes in my factory that there have been in other factories 
the last three years ; and I think I have employed a larger 
portion of French than most other factories: there is one 
exception, perhaps. 

Mr. Dubuque. Mr. Coolidge, you were a representative 
for your district, I believe, last year ? 

Mr. Coolidge. Yes, sir, last year. 

Mr. J. H. GuiLLET, of Lowell, then said : Mr. Chairman, 
I have a few statistics whica I would like to offer. First, I 
will take the population of Lowell. It is 60,000 ; French 
Canadians, 11,000, or 18.3-|- per cent of total population 
amount of real estate owned by French Canadians, $275,000 
French Canadians paying taxes on personal property, 83 
amount of personal property owned by French Canadians, 
$96,000, which makes the total valuation of property owned 
by French Canadians $371,000. The assessors told me that 
the property was taxed but two-thirds of the actual value 
there in Lowell this year, and that is the amount which they 
are taxed on. 

Now as to the attendance of children at school : — 



Total number of children in public schools 
Total number in parochial schools . 



6,193 
1,100 



That is to say, the total number of children at school is 7,293, 
or 12.1+ per cent of the total population. Of French 
Canadian children there are : — 



Total number in public schools 
Total number in parochial schools 



925 
253 



Or a total of 1,178 now in school. We petitioned the city of 
Lowell, two years ago, to provide more schoolrooms for us. 
They have given us two rooms where we need ten. The 
school committee has been fighting all the time for two years 
to have rooms provided. I take the statement of Mr. Smith, 
of the school committee, that in one district we have 183 
children who cannot attend school for want of room. I am 
informed chat in other parts of the city there are many who 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



48 



cannot go to school for the same reason. They use svard 
rooms and every place possible for schoolrooms. Now, if we 
add this total of 183 French Canadian children who are pre- 
vented from attendance for lack of room to the number 
previously obtained, we find the whole number of Canadian 
school children to be 1,361, or 12.3-|- per cent of the total 
French Canadian population. 

Consider in this connection that a large part of the French 
population is composed of grown-up families recently arrived 
in Lowell, together with many young men and women who 
have come to make their home here, and who, being un- 
married, consequently have no children to attend school. 

There are in Lowell 232 French Canadians who have 
become naturalized American citizens, and, besides these, 
twenty-seven who have declared their intention to become 
naturalized. Please remember that the laws of this country 
regarding naturalization are very strict, and that five years 
ago there were not many French Canadian young men here 
who were under eighteen years of age. 

We have in our city seven French Canadians in ofiicial 
positions, including two public . school teachers, and one 
member of the common council. We have a church with 
a seating capacity of 2,100, and also two French Canadian 
benevolent societies, two literary societies, and two dramatic 
societies. These societies give conferences on different topics 
every other week, and dramatic representations every month. 
We have a French Canadian brass band, and a French 
Canadian newspaper.^ 

There are in Lowell 134 French Canadians engaged in 
businp'.s on their own account in the various branches of 
trade; there are ten physicians and seventy-one clerks. 
There is also a branch of the Northwestern Mutual Life 
Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wis., in which French 
Canadians of Lowell have invested large sums of money. 

In regard to the education of our people, the facts that they 
have reading-rooms, conferences, and dramatic representa- 
tions so often, as I have stated; that we support a newspaper; 
and that we have evening classes for those who desire to 
attend, supported by the before mentioned associations, — are 
ample proofs that we may be favorably compared with any 
other nationality so far as educational taste is concerned. 
I Now published daily, Dec. 1, 1881. 



44 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



As to our habits, I offer as facts: 1st, on every Sunday our 
church, which has a seating capacity of 2,100, as I have 
stated, is filled three times ; 2d, our reading-roora, connected 
with one of the above named associations, is well attended 
every night; 3d, the conferences given under the auspices of 
our societies every two weeks are also very well attended, 
and so are our dramatic representations and evening schools ; 
4th, that with a population of 11,000 French Canadians, we 
have only one saloon, owned by one of our people, where in- 
toxicating liquor is sold, and he does not keep it himself; and 
5th, that the clerk of the Lowell police court has stated to 
me that if the whole population of the city were French and 
American there would not be business enough to support the 
court. 

In regard to the mill operatives I would state that on the 
occasion of the 24th of June last, when I interviev-ed agents 
of our cotton manufacturers to obtain permission to let the 
French Canadian help out on that day, Mr. Ludlam of the 
Merrimack Manufacturing Company told me that he would 
do it with pleasure, as he considered the French his best help. 
Mr. Cumnock spoke in very severe terms of the Twelfth 
Annual Report, and said the French were his best help. Mr. 
Shaw of the Tremont and Suffolk Mills, and Mr. Moulton of 
the Hamilton Manufacturing Company, both said that the 
French compared very favorably with any other nationality 
in their respective mills. 

I have letters here from overseers. We have about half a 
dozen French overseers in Lowell, but I will read no letters 
trom them, because they are interested. 

Mr. Guillet then read the following letters : — 

Lowell, Oct. 24, 1881. 
In the capacity of o.erseer for the Lawrence Manufacturing Company 
I employ about seventy-five French Canadian people, mostly males. I 
find them, as a rule, punctual and steady at their work, and not given to 
drunkenness. I have not found them desirous of working overtime, 
though frequent opportunity has been given them to do so. 

(Signed) S. R. Eitchek. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



46 



OFrioB or THB Trehomt and Suffolk Mills, 
Lowell, Mass., Oct. 24, 1881. 

To whom it may concern, and regarding the French Canadian operatives fm- 
ployed in these mills : 

It is my opinion, that as regards thrift, sobriety, and general good 
behavior and application to their labors, they compare, as a class, favor- 
ably with either of the other classes — viz., American and Irish — em- 
ployed on this corporation. 

(Signed) J. S. SHAW, Agent. 

Per Chadwick. 

Lowell, Mass., Oct. 24, 1881. 

We, undersigned, furnishing food and provisions to over five hundred 
French families in this city, do certify that the French Canadians as a 
class do like and use the best kind of meats and provisions, and don't 
live as paupers. 

(Signed) GAUDETTE BROS. 



Mr. GuiLLET (continuing). In the Merrimack Manufac- 
turing Company they have an establishment called f;i',ncy 
work, where they employ about 175 help ; and I understand 
160 are French, and they are putting in looms, and I am 
informed that by and by the whole room will be French. 
They like their help and their work on this particular kind of 
work. The statistics I have given are for the most part taken 
by myself from the assessors' books; and those about the 
schools were given by the superintendent of schools. He is 
a little opposed to the French -, but still he gave me very 
kindly these statistics, and some of the school committee 
were present, and they helped me considerably. These are 
correct; and I made them with the expectation that the 
books would be looked over by somebody else. 

Mr. Dubuque. You have been elected president of the 
convention held in Fall River the first part of October ? 

Mr. GuiLLET. I have. 

Q. This convention was composed of delegates from Rhode 
Island and Massachusetts ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Now, how long have you taken part in these annual 
conventions ? 

A. Well, I have about four years. 

Q. Now, whether the question of naturalization has been 
discussed before these conventions ? 



liT' 



M 



46 



STATISTICS OP LABOR. 



i 1 



A. Yes, sir ; it has many and many times. 

Q. Wliat has been the universal sentiment in the conven- 
tions with regard to this question of naturalization and 
repatriation ? 

A. Every time there were resolutions passed favoring the 
naturalization of the people, and requesting them to use all 
efforts, and to do eveiy thing possible to get naturalized. 
About repatriation, — the last convention decided not to say 
a word about it, to let those who desired to be repatriated do 
it. We found out that the people were having good homes 
here ; and those who had homes here had better stay here for 
the present anyway. 

Q. Now, whether you have taken part in any movement 
in Lowell or anywhere to secure the naturalization of our 
people ? 

A. Yes, sir; I have every year. Every year we have 
friends in Lowell and in Fall River, when I lived there, who 
have gotten up clubs, and done all we could to get the people 
naturalized ; and they have responded pretty well. Just as 
soon as they understand the language, just as soon as they 
are of age to be naturalized, they are ready to answer, and 
they get naturalized. 

Q. How many years have you been in the States ? 

A. I have been about ten years in the United States. 

Q. Now, from your observation, while you have lived here 
in the United States, are there not a great many people who 
come here at the age of between forty and fifty who do not 
learn the English language ? 

A. Yes, sir ; there are a great many. Of course there are 
a good many of that age who come here, who have families, 
and we don't expect to have those old gentlemen natural- 
ized; they are too old, — they cannot learn the language. 
It is very exceptional to find an old man to talk English. 
He has come here too old ; and unless he buys a piece of 
land or property he does not get naturalized : he don't under- 
stand the ways, he don't understand the laws, of the people 
among whom he lives. 

Q. Now, whether or not, according to your experience, 
the children of those who have come here old, and cannot 
talk English, as soob as they get to understand the language 
and the customs, and become of age, get naturalized ? 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



47 



A. Yes, sir ; they do, especially within two or three years : 
we have had a great many applications from people just as 
soon as they come of age, and before they come to age, in- 
quiring when they would be able to get naturalized, and they 
get naturalized just as soon as they can. 

Mr. Wright. You are acquainted with the locality called 
" Little Canada " in Lowell ? 

Mr. GuiLLET. Yes, sir. 

Q. What is the sanitary condition of that district ? 

A. Well, according to the report made last year, and pub- 
lished this year, it is not very good ; but last year those 
buildings which were referred to in the report published yes- 
terday were not finished. 

Q. What report do you refer to ? 

A. To the report of the sanitary commission of Massa- 
chusetts, published in the papers yesterday, and it created 
quite a breeze in Lowell, — it censured the whole school- 
house system and Little Canada. About half a dozen of the 
houses there are owned by French people , but the most of 
them are owned by American speculators who lease the land, 
and build up tenement houses. The most of them are used 
by the French because they work more in the Lawrence and 
Tremont and Suffolk Mills. 

Mr. Wright. Do you think the owners, or the tenants, 
are responsible for the bad sanitary condition ? 

A. The owners, undoubtedly. 

Q. Who do you say own the buildings ? 

A. I don't know if I remember all the names ; I could 
give half a dozen names, — Mr. Farrington, Mr. Thompson, 
Mr. Lombard, George W. Harris, — Harris owns two-thirds 
of the place, and four-fifths are owned by Americans. The 
land used to be old low land, the Lowell landing they called 
it formerly. It is filled in with what they got from excava- 
tions when they built the mills, and with dirt from the 
street. It was filled with dirt of the streets for several years, 
but this has been stopped. I have not noticed for three or 
four years any filling with refuse matter. 

Mr. Dubuque. I wish to put in evidence the report of 
the superintendent of schools of Fall River for 1881, and I 
have marked the places and the pages to which I want to call 
the attention of the Bureau. 



if 



f 



41 STATISriCS OF LABOR. 

[The extracts from the report are as follows : — 

" The lawa relating to the achooliiig of children wlio are employed iu 
the mills part of each year are well observed. It is a rare occurrence to 
find in the manufacturing eHtablishmenta of this city a child employed 
between ten and fourteen ycarN of age who has not attended school 
twenty weeks during the year next preceding the time of his employ- 
ment, I doubt if any city in the Commonwealth can show as good a 
record as Fall lliver, notwithstanding the opportunities for the employ- 
ment of children in this city between ten and fourteen are more numerous 
than in any other. 

•• The requirement prohibiting the employment of children of the 
above ages who are unable to read and write, is not, in my opiuion, so 
generally obeyed. What is to be understood by the ability or the inabil- 
ity of a child to read and write, is not easily determined. The vngueuess 
of the law leads, perhaps, to its violation. Does the requirement mean 
that the child shall be able to read and write English before he can be 
lawfully employed? Or, if unable to perform these acts in English, and 
can read and write in French, German, Spanish, or in any other language, 
will that qualification answer the requirements of the law ? Does it 
admit of as liberal an interpretation respecting the qualifications of the 
children to perform the acts of reading and of writing as is practised ' •' 
municipal authorities in putting voters' names on their voting lists ? 
so, the law can hardly be violated. The spirit of the law is good, b 
seems to me that it is pr .otically a dead letter because of its vagueness." 



I I 



The teachers of the Armory Hall School make honorable 
mention of fourteen pupils, of whom four are French Cana- 
dians.] 

Mr. Dubuque also subraitte- < the report of the City Marshal 
of Fall River for the year ending Feb. 28, 1881, from which it 
appears that but one hundred and twenty Canadians (either 
French or born in Canada) were arrested during the year out 
of a total of 1,817 arrests. 

Mr. J. D. MoNTMAEQUET, of Lewistou, Me., then appeared 
in behalf of the French. 

Q. (By Mr. Dubuque.) Are you the editor of a French 
paper published at Lewiston ? 

A. Yes, sir, — " Le Messager." 

Q. Whether or not the French in the State of Maine have 
had a national convention ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And that has been composed of delegates from what 
places ? 



THK CANADIAN FIIKNCH. 



49 



A. From all the dillV'itMit loralities of the State of Maine, 
where the French rrside. 

Q. When did thiit uonvcuition meet? 

.4. On the 2lst, -22(1, and 2;{d of June hist. 

V. Vou lire (»nt' of the promoters, I believe, of the move- 
ment ? 

A. Ves, sir. 

Q. Now, will you pleuse proceed with your report? 

Mr. MoNTMAUQUET. I iiui ^liiiig to give first, gentlemen, 
the most eUxjuent part of my statement; that is, the figures. 
I do not intend to give you a report of all the localities of 
Maine. It would simply be a repetition of the one submit- 
ted. I will give, for instance, Lcwiston. What is there, is 
found in every city, town, and village of Maine, in proportion 
to their population. The total [lopulation of this city is from 
nineteen thousand to twenty thousand. The French Cana- 
dians number about live thousand, one hundred and fifty of 
whom are voters. Number who have taken their first papers, 
fifty. 

We have one French Catholic church, which cost, altars, 
organ, and ornaments included, alioiit one hundred thousand 
dollars. This church is in charge of five Dominican Fathers. 
We have a convent, but it has [irovcd insullicicnt: and a largo 
lot of land has been recently i)urchascd on wiiich to erect a 
larger building for school purposes. Besides this convent 
we have a day school for children, and two evening schools 
for adults. The scholars who attend the convent number 
about three hundred. 1 may not be exact in my figures, but 
they are very nearly correct, and give an exact idea of what 
is in Lewiston ; and what is in Lewiston gives an exact idea 
of what is in all Maine. 

Q. (By Mr. Dubuqui*:. ) Whether or not, Mr. Mo'- 
marqnet, you have travelled through Maine, in the variou.N 
centres or places where the French are settled? 

A. I have, sir. 

Q. Whether or not you have been in other States? 

A. Yes, sir: all through the New England States, and 
New York. 

4>. You have been occupied as editor of this paper for 
how long? 

A. A little over a year and a half. 

7 



60 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



<?. 

States 
A. 

(>. 
A. 






Q. Before that time you were employed as travelling 
agent for the " Travailleur," of Mr. Gagnon ? 

A. Yes, sir, for about two years. 

And as such travelling agent you have visited the 
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York ? 
Yes, sir. 

you have lived in New York ? 

I lived in New York about twenty years; about eight 
years in the city, and ten or twelve in other parts of the 
State. 

Q. I believe you published some reports from the various 
centres you visited while you were travelling agent for Mr. 
Gagnon's paper ? 

A, I have made quite a work of them. 

Q. You have collected statistics, I believe, of the various 
localities ? 

A. Yes, sir, all of them. 

Q. Now proceed, if you please, with your report. 

A. We have two benevolent societies in Lewiston ; 
each of these have about one hundred and fifty members. 
And we have also what we call a National Club ; this club 
is coi"posed of the whole French population of the city. 

Q. What is its object ? 

A. Its object is the discussion of the question of general 
politics, exclusive of Dariy affiliations, in the interest of the 
French population especiaUy. The main question is the 
naturalization of the Frenc^i Canadians. That was the idea 
of the club when we established it. 

Q. In that club I suppose you speak the Frerch language? 

A. Yes, sir, always. 

Q. As in all the French societies ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. These benevolent societies you have spoken of are 
mutual relief societies ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. For the relief of sick members ? 

A. Yes, sir. We have a brass band, and two dramatic 
clubs. We have one French paper, two doctors, one lawyer, 
two druggists, two dry goods merchants, two boot and shoe 
merchants, one stationer, nine grocers, one furniture dealer, 
three printers, twelve carpenters, twelve shoemakers, seven 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



51 



blacksmiths, two masons, eight painters, and fifty, or about 
that number, French Canadian clerks in American stores. 
We have twenty-five real estate owners, and a larger num- 
ber who have built houses on leased land. We have two 
representatives in the city council, and one French policeman. 
Now, if we call criminals those who get locked up for one 
night, we have had about ten during the last year. I can't 
tell 3'ou the whole number of arrests made in the city ('.uring 
the year, but out of the whole number only ten were French 
Canadians. But if you call criminals only those who have 
received sentence we haven't a single one in the whole 
French Canadian population of the city. I remember at the 
last criminal court the judge made the remark : not even a 
single Frenchman was there as a witness. 

And now, gentlemen, I wish to make this statement, that 
what we have done for our church, costing about one hundred 
thousand dollars, — eighty thousand dollars of which has been 
paid, — for the organizadou of these societies and schools, we 
have done in the space of about ten years. Before that time 
there were but very few French Canadians in Lewiston, and 
no organization whatever. 

Now, gentlemen, I have the reports here of several other 
places, but I think it unnecessary to give them : it would be 
occupying valuable time for nothing. 

Mr. Dubuque. I think you had better give them. 

Mr. Wright. I think so ; make your t.iatement as full as 
your facts will allow. 

Mr. MoNTMARQUET (resuming). Let us take Biddeford, 
then. The total population of Biddeford ih 12,200. The 
French Canadians number 6,500 ; voters, 475. There is one 
splendid Catholic church there, and two French Catholic 
priests. There are four schools, a nationtil society, the 
French Canadian Institute, a society for young men, and a 
mutual benefit society. There are thirty-five merchants, two 
lawyers, and two holding public office. There are French 
Canadian clerks in every store there, and there are about fif- 
teen in different kinds of busi less not mentioned here. Now, 
to give you an idea of what their benevolent societies are, 
they give us a statement of their finances. The Society of 
St. John the Baptist since its organization has received 
$6,443.96; the expenses have been $2,503.38. They have 



w 



W 



62 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



donated to the church, $300; they have given as chanties 
for different objects, f 250 ; the current expenses have been 
$2,590.58; they have .n hank 1800, and $1,200 in real estate, 
making $2,000 in the Society fund. That gives an idea of 
the state of our societies in Maine. This is one among many 
of them. 

Here is Waterville. The population is 4,859; French 
Canadians, 1,635, with 100 voters. They have one Catholic 
church, one benevolent society, four grocers, three wheel- 
wrights, six painters, four bhieksmiths, one doctor, one barber, 
three shoemakers, three engineers, and eighteen teamsters. 
The ten-hour system is in force there. 

Now, there is another part of Maine, Madawaska, the most 
isolated part of the State. It is not exactly in case here, but 
allow me to just refer to it, please. It is a part of Maine once 
belonging to Canada, but to the United States since 1842. 
All I have to say about that district is that the French people 
there are all naturalized, and all real estate owners. They 
have their churches and schools mostly taught by French 
Canadians. 

Now, as I stated before, I have visited all the New England 
States, and have made a regular census of this part of the 
countrj'^, and also of New York. I published tlie result of 
my labors in Mr. Gagnon's paper. I can say that I found 
French Canadians everywhere in all of the liberal professions 
and in all branches of business. I will add that they desire 
to educate their children, and, besides helping to support the 
general institutions of learning, have their own schools taught 
by their own teachers. And I have found in every family, 
with a very few exceptions, from one to five who could read 
and write either French or English. And, in regard to the 
morals and religion of the people, I say, and I am proud 
to declare it, that the French Canadian people are superior 
to any other nationality in the United States. As proof of 
this I offer the Canadians of New England. If you question 
the statement, go and study the proof which lies in every 
French Canadian family in New England. As to the system 
of ten hours' work per day, I can only repeat what has been 
said by the gentlemen preceding me, viz., that the law is 
not in force in every State. The French Canadians desire 
this system, but will not endeavor to obtain it by unlawful 



' 



m 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



68 



means, such as strikes, riots, etc. I have talked with this 
people in their own houses, and I know them; I have studied 
them: I know it is because they could not obtain the sys- 
tem without committing acts condemned by law. That is, 
they could not obtain it except through strikes and all the 
disorders inseparable from this evil, and this is forbidden by 
order of the priests, and we generally obey our priests because 
we know that they always guide us in the right path. And 
on that account we have not that system, and you will never 
find a French Canadian who will use forcible means to obtain 
it. That is, they never go to a shop, and try to drive people 
out who are willing to work, or use any violent means what- 
ever to accomplish this object. If that is the only way to 
obtain it, you cannot expect the French Canadians to assist in 
its enforcement. 

Mr. Wright. You think the French people, as a people, 
are in favor of the system ? 

Mr. MoNTMARQUET. That is so, certainly, but they won't 
strike for it. That we can prove at any time. We are pre- 
pared to prove it here. If I could talk better English, I 
would translate these resolutions that we passed in our na- 
tional convention in Waterville. You would see by them 
what is the spirit of the French population, what they make 
out, what they want done, and what they work for, — for we 
stand by what is contained in thu>o resolutions. We are for 
them in Maine, in New Hampshire, in all the United States. 
The convention is the echo of our Avishes everywhere. 

[At this point the noon recess was taken.] 

At the afternoon session, Mr. Montmarquet resumed his 
statement. 

Q. (By Mr. Wright.) You have travelled through the 
New England States '/ 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. And especially among the French Canadians ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Have you travelled among the French in Connecticut? 

A. Yes, sir, but not so often as among the French in 
other places; but I have made a tour of Connecticut. 

Q. State whether the Canadians in Connecticut have any 
large centres of population, or whether they are more in 
scattered communities ? 



64 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



«l 






A. In the places visited by me, a very large proportion of 
the population is French. 

Q. What is the condition of the French Canadians in Con- 
necticut compared with the condition of the French in Massa- 
chusetts ? 

A. I don't see any difference, except that they are not 
proprietors so much in Connecticut as in Massachusetts, but 
from what I have noticed I think there are more French 
schools. In small villages there are one or two French schools 
where they teach French and English, — what we call private 
schools. I think there is a larger proportion in Connecticut 
than in other places I visited. In one small village there are 
two schools, and they are prosperous. 

Q. How would their habits and general living compare ? 

-.4. The VQXY ^"«^bits they brought from Canada ; they will 
be out doors t?.iking and singing between themselves. They 
are just like the French in Canadian villages. They like to 
sing, and they arc a little noisy, but always friendly ; and I 
think their morals are just as pure as in Canada. 

Q. They have not the organization which the French in 
Canada have ? 

A. 1 don't think they have so many societies as in Massa- 
chusetts and New Hampshire. 

Q. I notice that Connecticut is rarely represented in your 
conventions ; I don't know that I ever noticed where it has 
been represented. 

A. They were represented once in Worcester, but I don't 
think they were active there. 

Q. Generally they have not been represented ? 

A. I think that was the only time. They have no French 
newspaper there, and that is a great drawback ; and the fact 
is, I think, if they had one, it would be one too many, although 
those that are published manage to live ; but that State is 
so near Massachusetts that they all subscribe for the Massa- 
chusetts papers. 

Q. (By Mr. Dubuque.) Now, I want to know if the 
French are as numerous in Connecticut, for instance, as they 
are in Massachusetts, comparatively? Have you any par- 
ticular statistics, or a general idea ? 

A. Take the whole State together, of course there are more 
French in Massachusetts than in Connecticut; but take a 



!'f; 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



55 



town in Massachusetts that has, let us say, twenty thousand 
inhabitants, and one in Connecticut that has only twelve 
thousand, and in proportion, I think, you will find more 
Canadians in Connecticut than in Massachusetts, — the pro- 
portion is larger. 

Q. If you have noticed, as a chronicler of events, can you 
tell us how long since the French people have gone into 
Connecticut to settle ? 

A. I cannot tell you. When I went there I took the 
number of the population, the different manufactories, the 
prices of labor in the different places, their condition, the 
number of voters, etc. ; but I can't go any further than that. 

Professor N. Cyr, of Boston, next appeared, and said : 

Mr. Chief of the Bureau of Statistics, — I would say that it 
is mostly as chairman of a committee that was formed within 
a few days in Boston, that I appear at this audience. In 
Boston we do not feel personally insulted, as our brethren 
have been in other places ; but we have felt that belonging 
to the same race, to the same nationality, we could not let 
this opportunity pass without taking some interest in this 
hearing; and the Canadian Institute, which is the main 
organization of French Canadians here, invited me to attend 
a meeting, and there we organized a committee. This oom- 
mittee immediately went to work, and we sent, not kn )wing 
what Mr. Gagnon had done on his own responsibility, — we 
sent to various places as we happened to know the names of 
individuals. And, consider! r^ that we had such a short time 
to do the work, we have received quite a number of answers ; 
and I will, before proceeding further, give a few of the par- 
ticulars which we have been able to gather. Several have 
told us verbally, since coming here, that, inasmuch as they 
had already sent their statistics to Mr. Gagnon, they did not 
feel the necessity of sending them to us. I have a report 
here from Clinton County, which I will leave with the Bu- 
reau. There is one fact in it that strikes me, — that in that 
county there are 6,000 French Canadians that have been 
naturalized ; in Clinton County alone. New York. There are 
6,000 who have been naturalized, there are 1,850 owners of 
real estate, and the report in other respects is equally very 
interesting. There are 2,500 children attending the public 
schools. I have received also from Winooski, Vt., a letter 



1 



66 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



containing statistics, and there are a few facts in it to which 
I will call your attention. Under the head, " Canadians nat- 
uralized, how many ? " we find "almost all ; " almost all — that 
is a pretty good showing. I think these gentlemen, these 
Canadians, do not expect to go back to Canada, very soon, 
at any rate. Here is another point with regard to the Cana- 
dians, about criminals ; but I would just read the blank that 
we sent. Title: "Canadian statistics," giving the place; first, 
" Number of Canadians ; " second, " Number of Canadian 
churches" (because, of course, if they establish churches it 
shows that they exuect to remain there. They would not 
build expensive churches, as they do, unless they intended 
to remain ; and in that respect, gentlemen, they are very dif- 
ferent from the Chinese, because we have not yet the privi- 
lege of having a Chinese temple in Boston, so far as I know.) 
In the third place. " Number (»f Canadian pupils in the parish 
schools." We respect the liberty of conscience ; and as we 
respect conscience we say that if people find fault with the 
public schools, for one reason or another, they have the right 
of building their own s(!liools provided they support them. 
Then : " How many in the public schools ? '' Sixth, " Cana- 
dians naturalized?" Seventh, "How many who have made 
their declaration ? '" I think it would not look very well on 
the part of any officers of the State of Massachusetts, or any- 
where else in this great country, to find fault with the French 
Canadians because they did not get naturalized the first year 
they come to the country. I know some people who come 
from Europe and are naturalized the first year ; but we don't 
work on that plan. We don't believe in love at first sight; 
we want to get acquainted a little with the country, and 
see how things look here, before we really, to use a common 
expression, " pop the question ; " and I think it speaks very 
well for the French people that they wait a little while before 
they even mak.. their declaration. And, of course, they must 
understand English first. That is one thing that is abso- 
lutely necessary. 

There is another thing here, and just allow me to speak 
of it. I think I am a thorough American citizen, and I 
have been so for many years; and I must say that it was a 
blessed day when I was able to exchange my condition of a 
British subject, which was only a thing of accident, not of 



im 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



57 



my own choice, for that of the position and the privileges of 
an American citizen. I tliink it was one of the brightest 
days of my life when I was able to thus become, not a sub- 
ject, but a citizen. For, according to the theory of our gov- 
ernment in this country, which I think is the highest, and 
the most philosophical, and the most humane, every man is 
both a citizen and a king, — a king to govern himself and to 
govern the country ; and, because he is not able to attend 
to the affairs of the country, then he appoints a president to 
whom he delegates his authority ; but he is still a king, 
every American citizen is a king, and he only delegates his 
authority to the president. Now, I think it speaks well for a 
nation to have patriotism ; that is, to feel the love of its na- 
tive country. I think it is one of the highest sentiments that 
we can find in the human heart, the love of the native land; 
and therefore, if the Canadians do not immediately become 
American citizens, and wait a little while out of love for 
their native country, it shows, I think, that, when they be- 
come American citizens, they will be better citizens. 

Another point was, how many societies of St. John the 
Baptist. Now, Americans probably would not understand 
what these societies are. They are most useful societies; 
they are mutual aid associations, and therefore destined to 
do an excellent work. Instead of going U the town to get 
charity, the members of that society have a claim upon it. 
Then there are what we call literary clubs, and societies of 
various kinds. There are quite a number of dr.imatic socie- 
ties which show that the French are true to their origin, — 
that is, they like the drama ; and these societies, so far as I 
know, have always presen dd to the public the most moral 
pieces that have ever been published in French. 

Now, in Winooski, Vt., a small place where there are only 
a few mills, there is one Society of St. John the Baptist, there 
is one of those clubs, and, with regard to criminals, they say 
that there are not any. It seems to me that it speaks very 
well for a locality to be able to make this showing. But I 
will not dwell any longer on this, because most of these points 
have been presented. 

I have also been requested to represent Boston. In Bos- 
ton we have but very few French Canadians, comparatively. 
In fact, we have very few people of the French race alto- 



r 



: , ii^i' i 



58 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



gether. The French race, taking the French born in France 
and i.i Canada, altogether make only a small community 
here ; but still, taking the French Canadians, I will give you 
just a few statistics which I have noted down, and then with 
a few remarks I will close. Now, in Boston we have three 
physicians, three dentists, two teachers of French, and, I think, 
nearly a hundred clerks. I will say here that these clerks 
are found in the largest stores, at Jordan, Marsh, & Co.'s, 
at White's; and their services are very much appreciated, 
because they have something which is peculiar to them, pecu- 
liar to their race, — they are exceedingly polite, and they do 
not do exactly as some nationalities do, who sometimes think 
they are really rendering you a service by showing you 
goods. The French clerks are exceedingly polite, and other- 
wise they show that they are ready to do any thing that they 
can. Then, I might say, we have men in Boston who have 
written a good deal of French, and some French that will 
compare with the French of France. There is a very svrange 
idea among even educated Americans in Boston and else- 
where, that the French of Canada is altogether different from 
the French of France, so different that a Frenchman could 
not understand it. That is a great mistake. The French of 
the educated people of Montreal and Quebec will compare 
very favorably with the French of Lyons or of Bordeaux 
and of other large cities of France. Of course Paris is the 
greatest literary centre, and a man from Lyons or Bordeaux 
will go to Paris to finish his French ; and so a man from 
Montreal or Quebec will go to Paris to improve his French. 
We have one man in Boston who is a real poet. There is 
one church composed mostly of French Canadians. There is 
one mutual aid society. There is a literary society composed 
of eighty members, called the " Canadian Institute," having 
a library and reading-room, and there are lectures and politi- 
cal discussions there every week ; and certainly, when I see 
these young men, these clerks, who are willing to pay from 
six to ten dollars a year in order to sustain a society, and 
when I see the American clerks who for one dollar can be 
members of the Christian Association or the Christian Union, 
and there have almost every thing except board and lodging, I 
think it speaks very well for the French Canadians that they 
are willing to contribute so largely to sustain this institution. 






THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



69 






I may ntate also that there is ii French iit^v^spaper nnlled 
"Le Rdpubh'cpl.u," which I have founded with the view of 
presenting American institutions under their true light. And 
so, here in Boston, though the French are not numerous, yet 
they can make a pretty fair showing. I must say that I 
never heard of any being brought before a court of justice. 
There may be some ; I should not be surprised if there were, 
a dozen or more ; but I never heard of any. 

Now, with these remarks, I will say that my impression lias 
been, — and I have travelled somewhat through New Eng- 
land, and have lectured both in French and in English in a 
good many places, — that I have found the French everywhere 
a docile people, a kind-hearted people, and the only fault I 
find is that they are almost too humble. That is about the 
only fault I find with them, that they have not come yet to 
that feeling of independence which all Americans have, and, 
when the French operative goes to offer his services, he looks 
too much like a beggar, whilst he should feel like a man who 
has a treasure to offer. He goes to the capitalist, and what 
can be the capitalist do without the sturdy hand of the 
laborer? What is the use of having all this machinery unless 
there are men to run it ? And I think that on the part of 
those capitalists, those manufacturers, who have spoken dis- 
paragingly of the French, it is showing very little humanity. 
Though we do not believe in strikes or in revolutions, or in 
setting up labor against capital, we live in an age of progress, 
when every man feels his responsibility and his worth ; and 
there is no place better fitted than the United States of Amer- 
ica to develop personal resources and personal worth ; and I 
say that, unless capital will do what is just, labor will right it 
some time. It would be a great deal better for capital, at the 
present time, to do what is right, what is humane, what is 
honest, what is Christian, in order to prevent this overturn- 
ing that may happen he^e as it has in the Old World. And 
in conclusion I may say that I am very glad that this hearing 
has taken place, for I think it will be for the benefit of both 
Americans and French Canadians, and when we all become 
American citizens, and all feel that they are under the same 
flag, — oh, how natural it is for the French Canadian to be 
under the United States flag ! Have you not noticed that 
the colors are the same ? The tri-color, the colors are the 



60 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



I 
i 



Kk 



same, and only the stars here are added. I suppose the stars 
mean a little more light. Very well : we will accept a little 
more light, and profit by it. 

Mr. Wright. I should like to ask Mr. Cyr if he has trav- 
elled much in Connecticut, or is much ac(iuainted with the 
condition of the French Canadians in that State? 

Mr. Cyr. A few years aj^o I was in Baltic, for instance. 
I saw there a very large population and a very thriving pop- 
ulation, before the failure of the owners of the mills. I have 
seen also in Vermont, I have been through there, and seen 
the Canadians in Burlington, who occupy a very important 
position there. I have seen the French Canadians also in the 
marble quarries of Rutland, Vt. I have seen them in White- 
hall and Cohoes and in Troy find in Albany ; and in all these 
places I have noticed the same characteristics, the same ear- 
nestness to work. They have come here to work. They are 
not adventurers like some people of other nationalities, but 
thev have come here to work, and to find what have been 
well styled " the three important things, — space, bread, and 
liberty." 

Mr. Wright. You have heard the statements made in the 
hearing with regard to repatriation : what have you to say of 
your own experience and knowledge on that subject? 

Mr. Cyr. My impression is, so far as I have been able to 
observe, that there are farmers, who, owing to bad crops or 
to various other things, get a little involved : they are obliged 
to borrow money ; and they mortgage their property, and 
then they come here with a view of earning enough money 
to go back, and take up the mortgage, and settle down again. 
Now, they are farmers; they seem to be more inclined to 
farming. We want farmers just as much as we need opera- 
tives in the mills ; and these persons not only have a perfect 
right, after they have earned their money honestly, to go back 
to Canada, and take up their mortgages, and then have a 
better position : I think some do that. But I have noticed 
another fact, — that, when a person has been here for a year 
or more, Canada does not seem to be exactly the same thing. 
A man's ideas change. Of course we judge of things by 
comparison. I remember, before I went to Europe, when I 
was a student, there used to be a hill in the locality where I 
was. I thought it was a very nice hill, quite a hill ; but when 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



61 



I had been in the Alps, and sisctMided iis far as 9,200 feet, and 
oaine hack, I said, " Where is the hill ? *" The hill seemed to 
he gone; my ideas had ciianged. And so, when people have 
been in this country any time, a certain number, when they 
go back, they do not find the hill, and are not satisfied, and a 
great many of them will come back here. Their children 
will certainly come. If the old people will not come back, 
their children will come, or a great many of them, so that 
the proportion of those who have been here a year or more, 
who go back to Canada, and settle down, I think, must be 
very small. 

Mr. WuiGHT. Briefly, your idea is, that the tendency to 
permanency has gained strength? 

Mr. Cyr. I think it i» gaining all the time. 

Mr. Gacjnon. Many come with the idea of earning money 
to pay off their mortgages. With Uie aid of a confrere in 
Worcester J have written some papers for them, and I am 
quite sure that others could testify as I do that many of them 
come w ith this idea ; l)ut we write more papers for those who 
are in Canada, buying from those who are here and hold prop- 
erty there, than for those who want to return. They come 
with this idea of going back, but their ideas change, and they 
sell their property to land owners in Canada. You seem, 
Mr. Wright, to speak of Connecticut more than of other 
States. 

Mr. Wright. Before you came in I called the attention 
of gentlemen to the fact that I had noticed Connecticut had 
not been represented in conventions as much as the other 
States: in fact, I see Connecticut mentioned very seldom. 

Mr. (xAGNON. They have been represented in 1879 in 
Worcester, and in Rhode Island in 1880. And there is a 
movement on foot now to liave a convention in Connecticut. 
I have here a number of statem* nts.^ 

Mr. Dubuque. We wiP now present to you some evi- 
dence from a man who has been employed by manufacturers 
in Massachusetts to go into Connecticut, New Hampshire, 
and Maine, to get families to come to work in Massachusetts. 
He has visited the French families, has talked with them, and 
they have expressed the desire to come to live in Massachu- 
setts, where the hours of labor are shorter. 

1 See statistics of Grosvenordale, Putnam, Baltic, and Meri(l#i, presented 
in connection with Mr. Gagnon's statement, pp. 18 and 1!) ante. 



f 



M 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



m 



Statement of Mr. Edward J. L'IIkuault : — 

Qnestinn. (Hy Mr. Duiujque.) Your occupation is that 
of a constable of Fall River ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

^>. Mow lonj? liave you lived in this State? 

A. Twelve years in the State of Massachusetts. I lived 
prior to that in the State of Rhode Island, and three years in 
the State of New Hampshire. 

Q. You were about nine years old when you came to this 
country ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Please state what experience you have had with the 
manufacturers of Fall River with regard to getting families 
from other States, and your observations concerning the 
Frencii people in this and other States. 

^1. My experience with the laboring people has not been 
confined to Fall River only; for I have been employed as 
much, if not more, by New York and Connecticut parties to 
get help for them, as for Fall River. I have always found 
that wherever I went to a place to get help for the factories, 
brickyards, or any other employment, that the French peo- 
ple were very anxious to find out whether I wanted to take 
them where they were working more than ten hours a day. 
Several of them remarked that where they had such long 
hours it confined their childrer in the mill, depriving them 
of all the privileges of getting an education in the day or 
night schools. Wiiere they worked only ten hours it would 
leave them an hour or two, but in Connecticut they worked 
twelve hours per day. That seemed to be the greatest objec- 
tion to their remaining there. Last week I visited Grosve- 
nordale, Conn. 

Q. In whose interest were you working then ? 

A. In the interest of a Fall River corporation, the Border 
City Manufacturing Company, who had just erected a new 
mill ; and I found there a large number of people who were 
ready and willing to go to Fall River to work. As the wages 
are a little higher, that was some inducement ; but that in 
itself did not seem to be enough to decide them to leave 
the place where they first came to the States; because I 
might mention here that the French people in Connecticut, 
in general, have not lived in the States long. I found in 



f:: 






THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



63 



places such fts (irosvenordule, some parts of Baltic, and in 
the manufacturing districts along the Connecticut River, 
whore there were Canadians (not so much in Willimantic as 
in Baltic and in other places owned hy the Spragues), that 
the majority of the help were people from Canada, brought 
there at the expense of the manufacturers; and, in order to 
work out the cost which the company had been put to, they 
had to be submitted to long hours of toil. And, as a rule, just 
as soon as they can pay off the company (and it takes them a 
long time : the company furnishes them all the necessaries of 
life at their own price), as soon as they caii get clear, as they 
term it, "get scjuare with the corporation," they seek employ- 
ment elsewhere for the reasons I have stated, — in order to 
give their children a longer time to go to school, and not keep 
them at work so long. In Grosvenordale, for instance, the 
mill owners have brought, during the last year, more than 
twenty families, of which about five have left the place. 
They have left there to go to other parts of the State, not to 
return to Canada, but to go to other parts of the State, and 
to Massachusetts. I have always found them working, or 
seeking employment where they were working no more than 
ten hours a day, — from Grosvenordale and other places in 
Connecticut and Rhode Island also. 

Q. How many families have you brought to Fall River 
within the last year ? 

A. I don't know as I could state with any accuracy. A 
great deal of the lielp we brought there was single help. 
There were probably twenty-five or thirty families. 

Q. What arrangements have the manufacturers made in 
Fall River with those French families ? 

A. The arrangement varies with different corporations. 
The corporations furnish a tenement, of course, and if the 
family are in need they will pay their expenses to Fall River ; 
and, if they are so in need that they cannot buy the neces- 
saries of life, they get some provision dealer to furnish them, 
and take it out of their pay. 

Q. Now, have you noticed any tiling about the French 
people, about literary or benevolent societies and schools? 
whether in Connecticut or Massachusetts, or other places 
where you have lived or visited ? 

A. I scarcely visited a place for the last five years where 



64 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



.,. 



t 



I have not found parochial schools among the French, even- 
ing schools and day schools ; and, as a rule, the children al- 
ways attend the public schools when they haven't another 
school of their choice. 

Q. Whether or not the French are so permanently located 
in those places where there is no French church as they are 
where there is one ? 

A. No, sir: the French people like to cluster around the 
old church, and where there is not a church they generally 
build one, if they are strong enough : if not they will go 
where there are enough of their kind to help them to build 
a churcii. If near a churcii they are by far more stationary. 

Q. Now, wh other or not any manufacturers in Fall River 
have made statements to you with regard to French help, 
either coming from Canada or other places, as compared with 
the other nationalities? 

A. If I should report the statements made many times l:)y 
our manufacturers, I should be afraid i 'nirt the feelings of 
some one. But I would say that in every case where I have 
been sent out^ ihey wanted me to do all in my power to get 
some French help for them. They say, first, they like them 
because the day after pay-day they ave sure of having a 
Frenchman at work ; whereas the others are generally get- 
ting on the way an introduction to some magistrate for 
having drank too much the day before. I see that in Fall 
River by actual observation this is true. And then they are 
not 80 apt to rebel as the others. For instance, the manu- 
facturers always object to getting the people from Lan- 
cashire, — who recently have come from there. They are 
good help, good workers; but they are apt to rebel, and lead 
others to do so. The French help are always found at v/ork, 
and are not miserly of an hour if it was necessary to benefit 
their employer. I have always found them ready to work. 
They are quiet ; they don't raise much disturbance around 
the factory village ; they scarcely ever fight among them- 
selves ; whereas that is a thing which is very often the case 
with other help, — they have a great deal more fighting and 
rowdy ing around the corporations than in other places. 

Q. As to their social customs, herding together and meet- 
ing together to chat ? 

A. They are quiet. During the hours of rest in the week 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



66 



you will find them sitting together in a circle in each other's 
houses, and they will there discuss one topic and another ; 
they will gather round ibout those who have the most in- 
teresting newspaper, and one will read while the others will 
listen, and pass the time in tha* way. They very seldom have 
any great feast. They sometimes get together, and have a 
pretty good time ; but there is scarcely ever any disturban»;e 
that would amount to any disturbance of the peace. 

Q. What about their habits as to temperance ? 

A. For some eight years past I have been employed by 
the courts of Bristol County as French interpreter, and I have 
seen as mucih as two months without having one single 
Frenchman brought before the district court. I consulted 
the return of our chief of police for the last six years. In 
1875 there were 2,441 people arrested by the police, 65 of 
whom were French or born in Canada. The French popula- 
tion of Fall River was about one-sixth of the entire population. 
In 1876 there were 2,301 arrested, of whom there were 63 
born in Canada. The popuLicion then was about the same 
as the year before. It has not much increased, although it 
has increased somewhat. In 1877 the total number of arrests 
was 2,419; Canadians, 119. In 1878, 1,945; Canadians, 106. 
In 1879, 1,664 ; Canadians, 89. In 1880, 1,881 ; Canadians, 
120. The number for the six years was 12,651, of whom 562 
were of Canadian birth, or about 4.5 per cent. Of those 
who have been arrested and reported as of Canadian birth, 
there are a large number who are not recognized as Cana- 
dians, but who are cute enough to give their place of birth 
as Canada ; but when we see them tlie next day we know 
that they were not born there. TI10^'J that are arrested are, 
as a rule, the same ones erery year or every month. I don't 
believe there were twenty-five 'lifferent Canadians arrested 
in Fall River last year. The Freji/;h population now is close 
on to eleven thousaucu making the {x^rcentage of crime among 
the French very small. Of couri^e tiiere is a certain number 
of our population which is never «*untiuned iji the courts, and 
so, taking it among the operatives, — they are about the only 
ones, comparatively, the mechanics, who are brought before 
the court, — and, taking it in that way, there are certainly 
eight or ten of the others compared with one of them. 

Rev. Father Millut, of Nashua, N.H., then said: In 



66 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



■ 



the beginning of my statement I will say that I corroborate, 
as far as I can remember, much of the remarks which have 
been made in general by my friend Mr. Gagnon on the 
general statement which is the subject matter of this investi- 
gation. At a meeting I, together with one other, was chosen 
to come and present our cause before this hearing. They 
could have chosen heavy business men, but they chose a 
workingman, possibly because they were most interested in 
the case. We have not had time, having received these ques- 
tions only Saturday ; and, being very busy in a very numer- 
ous parish, I cannot express myself on every question and 
go into detail upon the subject matter of the investigation, 
but still I will give such figures as I have been able to collect. 
The total population of our city is about 13,307 by the last 
census. I have not made imy census for some three or four 
years past, but still the French population amounts to over 
3,000, — nearer 4,000 than otherwise, having more than 
doubled in the ten years that I have been there. Since that 
time this population has built one cliurch and one parochial 
residence, and the debts on these two institutions are very 
small comparatively. I find that amongst our parishioners 
there are fifty-one or thereabouts real estate owners. Some of 
them are owners not only of one liouse, but of three or even 
four houses. As to a statement of their fiuancial condition I 
have not gone to the banks to collect that, but I remember that 
ten years ago, in one of the banks where I was doing business, 
one of the directors told me tliat at that time or thereabouts 
the French had over fifty thousand doHars in that one savings 
bank. Of those who went away during the space of ten 
years, the number is very small. Of those who went away to 
stay, it is very small indeed. I could not give you the exact 
figures, but I don't know as I could find ten or twenty who 
went to remain. Some have gone to Montana to settle on 
farms, and some of then, have returned; others have remained, 
feeling they are better off there. For 1880, I find from the 
school report that there were in the schools 2,526 children, 
and in the evening sciiools 847 ; the average attendance 
diJring the year was 1,630. Tiie schtol report does not make 
a classification by nationalities, but to the best of my knowl- 
edge I should say that in that attendance there were between 
450 and 500 in the day schools, anu in the evening school * 






THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



67 



should almost be certain a very large majority were French 
Canadians ; and not only was that the number in the schools, 
but the want of schoolrooms was such that in this year they 
have built a new schoolhouse, and that schoolhouse is 
rapidly filling up. We have of naturalized citizens about 176 
or 200. We have two political clubs, one for each party, who 
are very busy in pressing people to become naturalized. We 
have also three piiysiciuns, graduates of medical schools, with 
regular university diplomas. We generally have in the city 
council one representative, besides now and then, — I could 
not say it was every year, — but I remember having some on 
the selectmen's board. Generally there is always one regular 
police ofliL'T l)esides a number of specials, — generally be- 
tween three an J four. In the way of business men we have 
about seventeen of them in business, of whom about fourteen 
are in the grocery business ; thirty-two or so are clerks, one is 
a baker; and ihere are a number of carpenters, which I have 
not taken the pains to count. We have a parochial library, a 
benevolent society under the name of St. John the Baptist, 
and generally, througli the winters, one, and very often two, 
dramatic clubs who give representations for the amusement of 
the people. We also had, as representative of a large cor- 
poration, the general passenger agent of the Vermont Cen- 
tral, and also one for the Passumpsic ; but things have now 
become changed to Lowell. 

The criminal statistics for 1880, — those for 1881 have not 
been publisli >d, but I went to the police office, and collected 
from the records, hasHly. these statistics; I give you these 
figures as taken hastil} would not take my oath on tliem 
all, but still they are pretty correct, — I find that out of 
1,221 arrested, 61 people belong to our nationality, French 
Canadians ; but I find also, and I so represented to the city 
marshal, that there were jome names there that were not 
French, and I don't see how the- could have got there ; but 
still I took them down. And amoogs: those arrested I find 
two for playing marbles on Suf ;r two lor unlawful fishing, 

one for assault. I find also ^..-.. -t tiuiu 12 lodgers, one 

disobedient chih. and I find 23 for drunkenness. And of 
these 23 drunks, unhappily, the same name very often occurs. 

As far as relates to their being a burden on the community, 
I have b^n for a time attending the county farm in Wilton 



68 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



for our county of Hillsborough, — I have not attended there 
lately, — but in the time I did attend to it every other month, 
together with another confrere^ I very, very seldom found any 
French Canadian there : I did now and then, but it was very, 
very seldom. 

As to their morals generally, I must state, — I will»not 
pretend by any means that they are all perfect, by no means ; 
but still I will say that to us they are very satisfactory, see- 
ing the large number of young men, and the immense seduc- 
tion of city life, the temptations to those people who are 
unaccustomed to it, — that their morals are satisfactory. As 
to smoking, I confess that they do smoke, and I myself do. 
I don't blame them for it ; it is one of their faults, but I can- 
not correct them on thai item, because I do it myself. 

As to their living beggarly, it is not often. Not only myself, 
but many other pastors can make the same showing. One of 
the great reproaches we make is, that they spend too much, 
they live too high, and they dress too fine. That is the great 
evil that we put on them. They live too high, they spend 
too much. This is about all I can say concerning Nashua. 

The reverend pastor of Manchester, who I learned yester- 
day was unable to attend hii.;:.elf, requested me to give also a 
few figures which have been taken very hastily, and are in- 
complete. In a population approaching 9,000 they have two 
churches, two parochial residences, and the debts are very 
small, comparatively, for tho length of time. There is now 
building a parochial school which is now under way. They 
have there 1.000 children in the schools, according to the 
report of 18H1, and in the parochial school there are 460. 
They have a brasf^ band. If that ca be considered a civiliz- 
ing agency, they have that. They have two dramatic clubs, 
a large number of merchants, heavy business men in different 
kinds of buMiiess, — dry ^oods merchants, shoe shops, — a large 
number of clerks, the number of which I could not exactl}' 
state ; and their criminal cases amor t to about fifty or sixty 
for the time expireu. The\ have there 200, or about that, 
naturalized citizens, besides a number who have made their 
applications, and a political club who are urging the matter 
on. They have two benevolent societies, and a library, the 
same as Nashua. That is about all I can state concerning 
Manchester. 



I*: 



TTl 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



69 



Concerning Rochester, N.H., I state, according to Mr. 
Gagnon, that the population amounts to about 5,500, of which 
about 600 are French. There are amongst those about nine 
real estate owners, and there are 650 children in the schools : 
of these about ninety are French Canadians who have an 
evening school besides. They have about twenty-five natu- 
ralized citizens and men in business, — grocers, bakers, 
butchers, etc., — and men in the liberal professions. 

Mr. BouDREAU, of Manchester, N.H., editor of " L'Echo 
des Canadiens," then said : — 

I am a French Canadian citizen of the United States. My 
statement is very much like that of Rev. Father Millet. We 
who appear from Manchester were delegated to represent our 
compatriots living there at this hearing. I will be short in 
my observations, which are the following : — 

The entire population of the city by the last census is 
83,000, and of that number 9,000 are French Canadians. 
Consequently, you see that we form nearly one-third of the 
population. Among our business men and establishments 
we have nine grocers, four bakeries and ten bakers, three 
dry goods stores, 150 French clerks, who work mostly for 
American goods dealers, second hands in the several manu- 
facturing companies, and 100 third hands. We have a jew- 
eller, 300 mechanics and carpenters, and five boot and shoe 
stores. Besides this we have a drug store, five physicians 
(graduates), two lawyers, 225 voters, including men who 
have taken out their applications, two churches (St. Augus- 
tine and St. Mary), three priests, a convent attended by 460 
pupils : the remaining French female children attend the 
public schools. This represents only one parish. The re- 
maining French boys also attend the public schools. We 
have two benevolent societies, two dramatic clubs, who give 
representations from time to time. We have a reading- 
room and library, two livery stables, two policemen, two 
constables, one justice of the peace, a French brass band, 
and one temperance society. 

I must now say that I have resided in this country for the 
last fifteen years, and that I have travelled much through 
the different States of New England. I have been in Man- 
chester for five years only ; but, having canvassed through 
many cities, and sought at every place for information, I can 



70 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



^ 



I; 



t-; 



I 



u 

i3 I 



t 



give you about the right number of Canadian French quali- 
fied for voting. Here are the figures I have obtained from 
men who, by their social position in the following cities, were 
enabled to give me exact ones : Manchester, 225 ; Nashua, 
200 ; Claremont, 45 ; Great Falls, 40 ; Salmon Falls, 20 ; Con- 
cord, 50 ; Fisherville, 55 ; Franklin, 40 ; Lebanon, 60 ; Hook- 
sett, 8 ; and, to the best of my knowledge, we would be able 
to reach 200 more in the small places throughout New Hamp- 
shire ; that is, 933 voters in New Hampshire. The nearest 
we can get at the small places, we are inclined to say that 
there are pretty near 35,000 French people in New Hamp- 
shire. 

Now I want to pass these figures to my partner, because 
he can explain better than I can in English. So, if you 
please, he will make some remarks about the figures of the 
French who come here, and get some money, and go back to 
Canada. 

Mr. F. C. MiviLLE, of Manchester, N.H., then said : I must 
remark, first, that our proportion of naturalized citizens is 
rather small for the population we have in Manchester, but 
two years ago we formed what we call a naturalization club. 
I speak of that because it is of a great deal of importance in 
this question. During the two years, about 200 have been 
naturalized, and we expect that in another year or two the 
average will be 200 more per annum. We expect this in- 
crease because no serious thought had been given to the sub- 
ject till we found that the smaller places had gone ahead of 
us, — Winooski Falls, Vt., for example, where they have 300 
French voters in a population of less than 4,000, and have 
elected a representative to the legislature who is a French 
Canadian. Five years ago another French Canadian was 
elected to the same ofiice. 

Wo have two French papers ; and we have also had two 
dry goods stores opened in the last two years, owned by quite 
heavy firms ; and other stores are opening all the time. In 
reference to the remark made in the last report, that the 
French did not spend much money, I must say that the 
French, according to my observation — I have lived in Man- 
chester ten years — and, according to the reports of the dry 
goods merchants, our French Canadian population has spent 
more money, and used more domestic goods, than any other 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



71 



class of people. The rich class of American people will buy 
more to a certain extent, and pay more, but will buy more 
foreign goo'^s; therefore we give more benefit to the country 
because we use altogether American goods, I mean domestic 
goods. I don't believe this accusation in the report is per- 
fectly true. The entire French population of New Hamp- 
shire is believed to be 35,000. 

Now, let us make a comparison between the money that 
is taken back to Canada by Canadians who return and the 
money brought into the United States by French immigra- 
tion. Let us say that in Manchester twenty French families 
per year return to Canada having -$1,000 each in their pos- 
session. Then think of the French population of 9,000 and 
what they spend, and of course they must expend a great 
deal more than 820,000 in a year. If they take away only 
$1,000 each, it makes $20,000 a year. The most that any 
Canadian takes is about $1,000. I think it is below that 
figure. I don't believe it will average that. Now, when a 
man goes back to Canada with $2,000, he will generally leave 
children enough to benefit the States more than that amount 
during the ten years following his departure. I don't believe 
in the idea of trying to check immigration when all other 
countries are trying to aid it. I think the American people 
should try, instead of discouraging and slandering the French 
Canadians, to encourage them in order to make them a part 
of the country. I think we have quite a good average of 
brain among the French people, if they were only encour- 
aged to cultivate it a little more. 

Now, let us examine the reports of the agents of the rail- 
road companies. They consider that there is not less than 
$35,000 spent by the Canadian French in excureions to 
Canada from the city of Manchester alone. 

Take another comparison. Suppose the French Canadians 
arrive in this country with $2 each, the 600,000 Canadians 
in the United States will have brought altogether $1,200,000. 
Now, put the number of Canadians who have returned to 
Canada during the last ten years from the United States at 
25,000 (the maximum), each person taking $25, and you will 
immediately conclude that the Canadian French have left 
some money in this country, since they brought $1,200,000, 
and those who returned took $625,000 only. 



f\ 



V2 STATISTICS OF LABOR. 

We must say, before concluding, that for the last fifteen 
years that we have been living in this country, we never 
have known that the Canadian French were an obstacle to 
the ten-hour law. I am sure that they are not. I have con- 
sulted many of them before I came here, although all the 
notice I had was one day. I could have had many witnesses 
here if I had had time, who wouM testify — bank men and 
merchants of all classes — as to moral character ; but I may 
say for the French in our city that they are very much like 
those of Nashua in morality, as it is only a few miles distant. 

Mr. Joseph Bouvieb, of Woonsocket, R.I., then appeared 
in behalf of the French. 

Q. (By Mr. Dubuque.) You are a councilman of the 
town of Woonsocket, Rhode Island ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. How long have you lived in Rhode Island ? 

A. I have lived in Rhode Island for nineteen years. 

Q. What is your business ? 

A. I am a grocer. 

Q, You also keep a drug store, 1 believe? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Now, what i^ the inclination of the French people rel- 
ative to naturalization : what is their disposition, their feeling 
about it ? 

A, As you all kiow, in Rhode Island the property qual- 
ification is quite an obstacle to the naturalization of our 
people ; that puts them back considerably all through the 
State, but as soon as they get enough property they are very 
ready and willing to become citizens of the United States. 

Q. (By Mr. Wright.) How much is that property 
qualification ? 

A. It is $134. 

Q. (By Mr. Dubuque.) Do you know a French Cana- 
dian in Woonsocket, who owns real estate, who is not a nat- 
uralized American citizen ? 

A. There are a few of the older men who own real estate 
and have not become citizens of the United States, being so 
old that they did not care. 

Q. Can they speak English ? 

A. They cannot speak nor read English; that is the 
great objection. We cannot make them citizens on that 



Mi 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



78 



account; they are too old to begin the study of the lan- 
guage. 

Q. Now, as to their disposition about the schools, sending 
their children to school ; I believe you have a church there 
in Woonsocket? 

A. We have just dedicated a church that cost the citizens 
of Woonsocket over $80,000, the church property ; that is a 
great deal of sacrifice, but we always find them ready and 
very willing to spend money for that purpose, because the 
most of our people come there to stay, come there to live. 

Q. Whether or not you have occasion to come in contact 
with the manufacturers of Woonsocket, and speak with them 
as to the French help, as to their opinion or feeling about 
them? 

A. I heard with interest the report of the citizens of 
Marlborough ; I think they have done it very properly. I 
wish I had thought any thing about it, I should have brought 
a good many of our manufacturers to give you the proofs, — 
I should have been much pleased to do so. 

Mr. Wright. You can send them to us: we should be 
very glad to receive them. And I would say to any of the 
gentlemen that they may have the same privilege to send 
any thing from any of their towns. 

Mr. BouviER. I see that the gentlemen from Marlbor- 
ough have represented their town in just the right way, 
because they brought the citizens to furnish the proof them- 
selves. If I had thought, our town would have done the 
same thing with a great deal of pleasure, for I very often 
meet them, and they always tell me they had rather have the 
French help than any other nation. 

Q. (By Mr. Dubuque.) Now, Mr. Bouvie:-, I believe in 
your business you are also ticket agent, sell tickets from 
Woonsocket to Canada ? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. Can you tell us what is the disposition of the French 
people about going back to Canada to live ? 

A. We don't have many that go back, and those that do 
go we most always see them back here again. 

Q. Whether the French population of Woonsocket has 
decreased dunng the last ten years ? 

A. It has increased very largely ; it is now between 6,500 
and 7,000. 

10 



71 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



ri 



Q. Whether tlie majority of the resideuts who lived there 
ten years ago are still there now ? 

A. The majority are there ; we have quite a good many 
becoming citizens from ])ii*th now ; they are beginning now 
to become citizens by birth Woonsocket is a place where 
the French began to come some twenty odd years ago. 

Q. I believe you have a grocery store also in Manville, 
R.I.? 

A. Yes, sir. 

Q. There are some French people there, are there not ? 

A. Yes, sir ; there are over 2,000 people there ; more than 
half the population is French. 

Q. What is the disposition of the French people of Man- 
ville, whether it is different from that of the people of Woon- 
socket about going back to Canada ? 

A. They are about the same all through. There are not 
so many there who are proprietors ; there are not so many 
voters in proportion to the popuh tn in Manville as there 
are in Woonsocket. 

Q. Now, about the schools, — what is the disposition of 
the French people about the schools, whether public or 
private ? 

A. In Woonsocket we have five French schools supported 
by the French people, besides the report we have got to make 
about tlic public schools where the French children go, also. 
There are about 450 children going to the French schools, 
and there are about 150 going to the public schools, the Eng- 
lish schools. 

Q. Whether or not the English language is taught in 
these French schools ? 

A. Yes, sir ; the children all talk English, — both French 
and English. 

Q. The children that go to the French schools go there 
to learn French ? 

A. They go there to learn French, but they talk English 
a good deal, I suppose, and talk French, also. We have in 
Woonsocket two justices of the peace and a councilman 
elected by the American people, I should say. They were 
elected by the Republican party; that is the reason I say 
they were elected by the American people. You can see by 
that what they think of them. They vould put them aside, 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 76 

I think, if what was published about them in the report was 
true. We have a police officer, wo have a constable, and we 
have three doctors, regular graduate physicians, and if any 
of the American doctors have to call in anybody to consult, 
nine cases out of ten they will call on one or the other of 
the French doctors. We have many butchers and grocers, 
and there is hardly u store started there, but what they 
must have a French speaking clerk, or eNe they can't do 
hardly lany business. The population there is about 16,000, 
I believe, by the last census, and of that number pretty near 
7,000 are French, so you can see what the wants of the 
French speaking people are. The biggest crime we can 
accuse the French people of is that they can't all talk Eng- 
lish If they could, they would be all right ; they would be 
on an equality with the other nationalities. 

Mr. J. M. AuTHiER, of Cohoes, N.Y., editor of " La Nou- 
velle Patrie," offered the following statistics : — 

COHOES, N.Y. 

Population 19,000 

French Canadians 0,000 

French Canadian real estate owners 176 

Value of real estate owned by French Canadians (church and 

school property included) $477,000 

Children (French Canadian) in public schools .... 300 

Attending French schools 044 

French Canadians naturalized 800 

Number who have jlared their intention to become natural- 
ized 65 

Number holding luunicipal office 7 

Number in the liberal professions 8 

Merchants 40 

Bakers 2 

Butchers 8 

Clerks 20 

Churches 1 

Societies, literary associations, etc 6 

The French Canadians have a large amount of money 
depo ited in the Savings Institution at Cohoes. 

Troy, N.Y. 

Population 56,873 

French Canadians 8,992 



m 



76 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



^i 



ii 



Fronoh Canadian real estate owners . 
Vnliio of real <>8tnte owned by French CanadianH 
Cliildr^ 'French Canadian) attending Hohool . 
Number of French HchooU .... 
Number of French Cr.nadiaiiH naturalized (1886) 
Number of French CanadiauH naturalized (1880) 
Number of professional men and merchants 



1«7 

. |A82,628 

608 

2 

293 

484 

06 



A French Canadian is also the general passenger ticket 
agent of the Troy and Boston Railroad Company. The 
French Canadians of Troy have built a splendid church at a 
cost of $56,620, and a new one is now being erected, which 
will cost, when completed, the handsome amount of $30,000. 

[Mr. Authier filed a statement to the effect that the French 
Canadians are, with very few exceptions, honest, peace- 
ful, and industrious citizens; they are ambitiouK to secure 
homes among us, and some of the most attractive and com- 
fortable residences in Cohoes are ow|»ed by them. The 
majority of those who have settled or intend to settle per- 
manently in the place have become naturalized, and vote at 
every election for their party. Their children attend public 
schools, and they support at their own expense four French 
schools. The standing of their children as to ability and 
scholarship is fully up to the average of other nationalities. 
As far as their modes of amusement are concerned, their 
frequent dramatic representations and picnics, their annual 
balls, and the recent establishment of a literary association, 
are sufficient evidence that they can also, in that respect, 
compare favorably with other nationalities. 

This was signed by William E. Thorn, mayor of Cohoes ; 
W. E. Thorn, president, and D. J. Johnson, superintendent. 
Harmony Mills ; Le Roy & Lamb, Globe Knitting Mill ; H. 
8. Bogue, Riverside Mill ; Gregorys & Hiller, American Ho- 
siery Mill ; William Nuttall & Co., Empire Knitting Mills ; 
North & Doyle, Anchor Hosiery Mills ; John Wakeman ; 
John V. S. Lansing, treasurer Troy Manufacturing Com- 
pany ; Chadwick Company ; Ontario Knitting Mill ; and J. 
H. Parsons & Co., manufacturers of knit goods, — all of 
Cohoes, N.Y. 

The latter firm says, — 

" We do not sign as advocating ten hours, as few of our people work 
that now, and it is unnecessary; but we do it in justice to this valuable 
portion of our community."] 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



77 



Mr. J. E. Marikr, of Lawrence, Mass., then sjiid : — 
Mr. Chairman, although my friend Mr. Gagnon ha« niado a 
very elaborate report of the situation of our French Canadians 
in the State of Massachusetts, I would indulj^e upon your 
patience to give you as detailed a report as possible of Law- 
rence, which is one of the very uiiportant centres of the State. 
And accordingly I have set down a few figures here to give 
you an idea of the position of our French Canadians there. 
The population of Lawrence is 39,178. Out of that the 
French population is 4,600. We possess one church school, 
which contains 860 pupils. In the public schools there are 
8,978 scholars, of whom 160 are French. The number ot our 
owners of real estate are 88, representing a value of )?115,000. 
The number of our merchants are ten ; bakers and those in 
other business number 80. We have two physicians ; we have 
also two apothecaries, one dramatic club, one brass band, two 
benevolent societies, one of which represents a capital in 
personal property of about 18,000. Amongst our merchants, 
I must remark, we have a grocer who represents a business 
of about $100,000 a year so far as retail business is concerned, 
which is a very important item, and the others are compara- 
tively successful in their business. The Canadians naturalized 
amount to about 130, and the declarations of intentions are 
140. Taking the report of the clerk of the police court 
dating from October, 1880, to October, 1881, I find the 
following: 1,800 criminals, of whom 25 are French, comprising 
petty offences like truancy and so on. 

I should like to make a few remarks about the ten-hour 
system. I have been in contact with many of our French 
Canadians, operatives in the mills at Lawrence, and I have 
somewhat seen their disposition on this subject. They all 
feel favorably to the ten-hour system in every respect, and if 
they were supported by their comrade operatives they would 
certainly put it through. I see last fall they made an attempt 
to have it adopted, but, unfortunately, they were left behind 
by their fellow operatives. Although a certain movement of 
repatriation has been going on since two years, we have no 
statistics or means of showing how great it is. My companion 
here, who is the sole agent for the Passumpsic road and Ver- 
mont Central, according to their report of tickets sold to 
those who went to Canada, it is comparatively small, as far 



78 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 






'V 



1 ;>:i 



J1 



as those who have staid in Canada ; most of them who went 
to Canada by excursions or otherwise came back a few days 
or a few weeks afterwards. 

The condition of our French Americans is very favorable, 
and now we have a naturalization movement which has every 
prospect of success, and I think will put our countrymen in 
a better position for the future. I hope my confreres will 
conclude the hearing in a very favorable manner. To show 
the spirit, the interest which our clergy have towards natural- 
ization, our worthy pastor, Father Bushee of Lawrence, has 
taken the initiative, and he is pus!»ing the movement strongly, 
a?Hl contributing to it as mueh as possible, and I think it will 
prove a success. 

Dr. N. Fontaine, of Spencer, Mass., made the following 
statement : — 

Q. (By Mr. Dubuque.) Will you please state to the 
officers of the Bureau what you know about Canadian im- 
migration or repatriation ? 

A. There is not much of it done in Spencer. 

Q. How long have you lived in Spencer ? 

A. For the last ten years. When I went there the French 
population was 1,600, ten years ago. The last census gave 
us 3,450. Now, as to immigration and travelling, you can 
say that it don't pay over there to be a railroad agent. I was 
agent there for the Vermont Central, and I had to give it up, 
could not make it pay. Last year I was agent, and I sold 
only ten tickets for Canadians going to Canada. In Spencer 
the Canadians are building and settling there. We have 
somewhere about 140 real estate owners, and some of them 
own from three to four houses. The number of voters is 135, 
and 100 hnve declared their intention. The public schools 
are attended by 1,200 children, and of that number we have 
550. The whole population of Spencer being 7,460, and the 
French population not being half of it, we are having more 
than half of the scholars. It seems to me that that shows 
pretty well. We have two French schools and a French 
church. But all this you will see in the general report. 

Mr. Charles Lalime,^ of Worcester, Mass., then said : — 

Mr. Chairman, you have shown so much patience this after- 
noon in listening to all these reports, that I am induced to 

^ Mr. Lalime has beeu a general agent of various railroad lines for the sale 
of tickets from the United States to Canada. 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



er- 
to 

sale 



say a few words more also, under the circumstances. I must 
say that I have been living in the United States since 1869; 
from that date till 1874 I have been the general New England 
agent for the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, 
formerly of Boston, now of Portland. In 1874 I was ap- 
pointed the New England passenger agent of the Central 
Vermont road. And you understand that under the circum- 
stances I have been in contact continually with our French 
population all through New England. I will say, gentlemen, 
that ten years ago we heard nothing al)out and we saw no 
organizations of any kind among the French Canadian popu- 
lation in the New England States. There were hundreds of 
families scattered right and left, but there was no organiza- 
tion. The fact is, there was no head, no leaders whatever. 
When I look at that time, and see what progress has been 
made, I cannot but say that I see no other nationality herein 
Ncr England which has shown so much progress as the 
French Canadians. Just look at it, gentlemen. For instance, 
I will mention Worcester, which is ray home. In 1869 we 
had nothing to speak of. Presently we have a French con- 
vent and a French church, the expense of both of which was 
over $80,000. Wo have a benevolent society, called St. John 
the Baptist, numbering very near 600 members ; they have 
about $8,000 in the bank, helping widows and orphans and one 
another. The fact is, it is a bod}' which has more importance 
than what you might think. Besides that we have a natural- 
ization club which has been in existence for the last two years. 
That has been progressing and is progressing rapidly now. 
Then we have also another club, Montcalm, as we call it in 
French, with over a hundred members. In Worcester we 
have no cotton manufacturing, the same as what we find in 
the other parts of New England ; it is more iron than cotton. 
I don't know if the French Canadians arc not the same in 
Worcester as somewhere else, but I can assure you we are 
very far from being what we are represented in that report. 
There is no difference in Worcester between the French or 
the American cr the German. We are all on an equality. 
We have two French local papers in Worcester, one of which 
has a circulation, if I am not mistaken, of about 1,400 or 
1,500. A great many of cur French families are subscribing 
to the American newspapers, and I must say that to-day, no 



80 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



I 



:.'i 
1 



■r) 



' : 



matter into what family you go, you will find tb.at our chil- 
dren can talk French and English just the same. They are 
brought up in our public schools talking English, and at 
home they talk French. These children, gentlemen, can 
talk both languages equally. 

Mr. Gagnon. Speaking of French newspapers in Worces- 
ter, there is one that has a circulation of 3,000. 

Mr. Lalime. Our population is stationary: it does not 
move. A great part of our Frenchmen are real estate owners, 
and I must say that the railroad ticket sales in Worcester do 
not amount, on an average, to $100 a month, out of a popula- 
tion of over 5,000. We stay at home, we mean to become 
citizens, we are using all the means that we can to have all 
get naturalized, and we do all that is in our power to place 
ourselves on an equal footing with the American population, 
and we are known to be so ; we meet our American friends, 
and there is no difference between the two nationalities. As 
for business men, we have grocers, — I don't know how 
many, — but we have French grocers on every street, and 
three French doctors ; and as for French clerks, gentlemen, 
to sliow what is the worth of the French Canadian popula- 
tion, we have them in every first-class store. 

Now, gentlemen, as I was saying a minute ago, in looking 
at the past ten years, not only in Worcester but in Woon- 
socket, Fall River, Lawrence, Lowell, Biddeford, Lewiston, 
Manchestfci, and Nashua, — why, ten years ago there was not 
a single organization, and when you come to find out that we 
now have our French schools in all these places, that we 
have our business houses everywhere, it seems to me that we 
have been progressing, and that we ought not to be compared 
with the Chinese of the Fast. That expression, gentlemen, 
has hurt me somewhat, and I must say that I was one of the 
first in our city to come up and say, we must meet Mr. 
Wright, and show him that we are a white people, and that 
we have been well brought up, that is, as well as American 
gentlemen are brought up. Let us go and meet Mr. Wright, 
and show him that here, though we are not in what we 
might call our mother country, we have made the United 
States our second mother country. If sometimes we speak 
of Canada, do not forget that we have just arrived here in 
the New England States. Twelve years ago three-fourths 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



81 



of us had not arrived. We are only seven or eight hours' ride 
from our friends in the mother countrv, at home where we 
eanie from. We are situated quite difterently from what the 
German and the Irish inmiigrants are. They have come from 
across the ocean. We can go to Mt)ntreal for four dollars, 
and three or four weeks ago we could go to Montreal for two 
dollars. There we have left friends, we have left many of our 
relatives, and there is nothing strange if we go there once in a 
while to meet them. Of course you will hear everywhere, in 
all places, Frenchmen saying they will return to Canada, but 
you must not forget that experience shows »is that only a few 
will go there to stay. Every one of our fathers and mothers 
who came here from Canada always came here to stay two 
or three years. The children take the customs of New Eng- 
land, of the United States, and after three or four years' resi- 
dencte when the father says, we will go home, the children 
say, we will not. (Jentlemen, I could give you lots and lots 
of examples where father and mother have gone back to 
Canada, but the children are here. They have settled, they 
are American citizens, and they will never go back to 
Canada. Immigration has a good deal to do with the rail- 
road business. Let me state to you that the monthly 
railroad receipts of ticket sales from here to Canada for one 
line, and that is the one I represent, the Vermont Central, 
are about $9,000. These are the sales to the French popula- 
tion from New England to Canada. That amount may seem 
to be quite large, but let me tell you that our sales to return 
average at least •Vl8,000 to -"^20,000 a month, that is, from 
Canada to the New England StatCN. The reason also, gentle- 
men, why ' " sales are so high, when I speak of f 9,000 
from here to l.;anada, is that through two montlis the railroad 
men always make excursion rates. We can go to Canada for 
almost nothing, — as I was saying, we have been to Canada 
during two months for two dollars. There is nothing 
strange, then, if the Canadians will travel and will go there. 
More than one-third of the business is done by people buying 
tickets here and sending them to Canada. You take the 
French Canadian centres, Salem, for instance, — the popula- 
tion in Salem comes from Rimouski, about a hundred and 
twenty miles below Quebec. They all come from that neigh- 
borhood. What has brought that jiopulation to Salem ? I 
11 



98 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



I IF 

If 

-a 






k 



f4 



:■ 



i 



I*'. "I 



I 



fA 



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3? 

t 



should say that two men in Salem have clone all the busi- 
ness. They came here and settled, and every month they 
send for five, six, ten, fifteen families, and we se^ jhem com- 
ing. Some will go back, but three-fourths of them remain 
here. And it is just the same in other places. A gentleman 
comes and settles in a certain place, and he will get so many 
others to come there ; that is the way it is done, and we are 
selling tickets that way all the time. 

Mr. GuiLLET. The other month I went to Fall River, and 
on the street a young man came to me and sliook hands, and 
said, " Don't you recognize me?" I said, " No." — " Well," 
he says, "I am such a one." It remindcil nic that nine years 
ago when I came to Fall River I made the acquaintance of a 
family there, and this family was going back to Canada next 
spring, they said. I said to the young man, " Aren't you 
going back to Canada?" He said " No." — " Why," said I, 
" when I was here you said you were going back next spring." 
He said, " We have been going back to Canada next spring 
for nine years, but we are settled here, and are going to 
stick." And that is what a great many do. About this 
epithet, " Chinese of the East," our F'rench operatives in 
the mills at Lowell have been opposed by the other help 
and abused on account of this name. For two three 
weeks they were on the fire for the people calling chem 
" Chinese." They heard nothing but " Chinese " all the 
time. Some had to lose their places, and go off; they could 
not stand it. But now it is a good deal better. After we 
had indignation meetings it was a little better. The ordinary 
help don't know the meaning of it, but they took advantage 
of this report to abuse our friends very much with this 
epithet. 

Mr. L'Herault (of Fall River.) It needs no argument to 
prove what our friend from Worcester has said, because we 
can all look back ten or fifteen years. Did we then have any 
French in Boston or vicinity? Very, very few, no real 
e.^tate owners. To-day we can count the French Canadians 
in New England by thousands, and many of them are real 
(jstate owners. Now, in the report it is said that vctinr*. 
with all that it implies, we care nothing about ; that .:i'« doa't 
get naturalized. Mr. Chief, there is one thing, if thwy huve 
not been getting naturalized as fast as some otn. .-s have bten, 









y 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



88 



instfiad of being a stigma on the nation It is an honor to 
them. It is because they understand too well, they have 
been too well brought up, and know too well the meaning of 
an oath, to become naturalized without having the right so 
to do. Others get naturalized a great deal faster, as we know. 
A great many men who landed in New York last year will 
vote this, although they had not seen the country before. 
Then they will say, "Why don't the French get naturalized?" 
Mr. Chief, it is because the men who came here were all over 
the age of eighteen years, with few exceptions. They were 
educated in French, they couid speak French, but they could 
not speak English. They may in time become naturalized, but 
when a man has reached twenty-five or thirty or forty years 
of age, and has never learned but one language, he can hardly 
learn another. I will ask you, if you were placed in a country 
where you had to learn to read and write French to be al- 
lowed to vote, whether there would be a great many of you 
who would vote ? I say that the French, considering the dif- 
ference in the language, are dohig marvellously well. They 
have done better than the American citizens could fairly ex- 
pect them to do. The assertions in the report were made by 
interested parties, trying to injure the French people of this 
Commonwealth. I do not blame the Chief in parti oular. He 
had to rely on agents, and these agents probably have to 
rely on others who make statensents ; but I do blame him in 
one sense for having written this in this way, as this seems 
to be a conclusion of what they have heard. " With a few 
exceptions the French Canadians are the Chinese of the 
East." The gentlemen of the Bureau seem to be well enough 
posted, and it seems to me that a siinple glance over the field 
would have shown them different from that. Why, it is easy 
to see I We have them right here among us, j^ou have them 
living right beside you. Are they not the same as other 
citizens ? You see them in Lowell, Lawrence, Fall River., 
Manchester, and Worcester. They occupy some of the high- 
est positions, that i;5, considering the time they have lived 
here. In our reports, some of the gentlemen have mentioned 
second hands and mechanics ; they ai-e too many to enumer- 
ate. For a Frenchman to be a second hand is a very ordi- 
nary thing in Fall River, and seveiai are overseers. The 
reasons I have stated in regard to naturalization are the only 



84 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



h:. 






' t. 



m 



• i'.\ . 



ones, as I thiak my friends will bear me out in sayi ^', that 
prevent them being naturalized. But you see the ut ^ nrop 
is coming in, and, be it said with pride, the French are very 
prolific. The young people are taking out their papers, 
and getting initiated into the manners, customs, and institu- 
tions of this country. They take an interest in politics. 
Fifteen years ago we could not get a French paper printed 
in New England ; to-day we have several, and they are well 
patronized. 1 think that this hearing, on the whole, Mr. 
Chief, will prove to the satisfaction of the Bureau that the 
statements made In the report were erroneous. % 

Mr. Dubuque (in closing for the French.) Now, gentle- 
men of the Bureau, I think the hearing is about closed. We 
have nothing further to present. I feel before closing, how- 
ever, that it is my duty for the delegates who are here pres- 
ent, to tender to this Bureau our grateful thanks for having 
given us this opportunity to be heanV, as well as for the kind 
attention that you have shown throucrhout the whole hearing, 
and the disposition to do justice on th subject matter which 
is now before us. Of course, as we said in the beginning, 
this hearing has been informal, but however informal it may 
have been, I think we have proved to your satisfaction, that 
the statements which have been brought to this Bureau by 
either interested or prejudiced parties are entirely erroneous. 
Were it necessary to corroborate \/hat ve have stated here 
we could furnish the affidavits of manufacturers and considera- 
ble more evidence which would only be cumulative and could 
not prove any more than we have proved now. 1 would re- 
fer the honorable gentlemen of this Board to a very high 
authority in this Commonwealth, Mr. Goodell, who edits the 
Province Laws in Massachusetts, who has been kind enough 
to come up here and say to me that ^ny information that the 
Bureau wanted to get from him in regard to the French peo- 
ple of Salem, he would kindly give it to them. He said he is 
president of a railroad compan}^ which employs a hundred 
French people, and that as a whole he has found them better 
than any other class of workmen. I will not detain you 
further to tell you what he said to me about them, but I will 
refer you to him, and that is enough. 

But before I close, I would say that I think we have 
proved by overwhelming evidence that the statements con- 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



85 



1 



tained in this report are grouiulless. We have not proved 
that tliey are malicions, but we deduce from the fact tliat 
they are false, that they have been presented to you from a 
malicious spirit or in a spirit which is just as sordid and 
despicable, — undoubtedly by interested parties. Now, of 
course, the greatest objection which wo have against the 
report is this, gentlemen of this Bureau, that it singles out 
the French people in preference to the Irish or the English. 
What is contained on page 469 and page 470 of this report, 
gentlemen of this Bureau, could be said of the English ele- 
ment, could be said of the Irish element, could be said of the 
Portuguese element, could be said of all the elements of so- 
ciety, even of the native Americans, — some of them. What 
you have said here might apply to a very few exceptions, but 
it does not apply to the French people as a whole. It does 
not ap{)ly to the majority of the French people, the vast ma- 
joritj' of them. It does not apply to the men Avho have come 
before you, and it does not apply, I say, to tiie vast majority 
of the French people not only of Massachusetts, but of New 
England. I think you are satisfied now, after this hearing, 
gentlemen, that all we want here to-day, all we ask, is simple 
justice. We think we have had it, and we thank you for 
granting us an impartial hearing. We think that you have 
shown a disposition to be fair, and to give us what is called in 
common parlance "fair i>lay," and that is all wc asked, gentle- 
men, and for that we arc thankful to you. 

But another great objection we had against this report was 
this. We would not have been so much touched by the re- 
port if it had been contained simply in a newspaper, because 
there we could answer it. If it had been in "The Boston 
Herald," if it had been in " Tiie Boston Journal," or in any 
of the great newspapers of this country, we could have an- 
swered it. But here how could we answer it? Here is a 
document which will remain forever, as long as the State 
House stands, — in the archives of this Commonwealth. It 
will be out of this material, as I said in the beginning, that 
the history of the French people or of this Commonwealth 
will be written. When the social student will come here to 
study the social progress of the people, of this Common- 
wealth, and of the New England States, he will come to this 
source of information, he will see these statistics collected. 



86 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 






11 

t:: 

i', 
'! ; 



here, and, moreover, he will see that no other nationality is 
mentioned here but the French Canadians. Pie will see that 
they are brought out, as it were, as the great opposition to 
the advancement of the working classes. He will think, at 
first, by reading this, that they were a great obstacle to tbe 
social and mural progress of the people of this Common- 
wealth. But I hope, gentlemen of this Bureau, that in the 
next report there will be such an overwhelming refutation 
such a satisfactory refutation, based upon the facts as we 
have presented them to you, that, even if an injustice has 
been done to us, justice at last will prevail. 

Mr. WiiiGHT. Gentlemen, I want to thank you most 
heartily for your kind attendance to-day, and for the intelli- 
gence which you have brought to bear upon the question 
before us. I wish to say a few words, however, with refer- 
ence to the report. All the evidence taken by the Bureau 
was taken in the course of an investigation conducted under 
the law of the Commonwealth. The statement of every man 
cannot be given as a specific piece of evidence. Every pirty 
is interested, of course, just as every party here to-day is 
interested. I do not think statements were made in malice ; 
they may have been made in ignorance, but certainly not in 
malice. The words "Chinese of the East" are simply an 
expression used by economists to-day everywhere, to denote 
the kind of labor that is migratory. That is all I understand 
is meant by the term "Chinesie " here as applied to the Cana- 
dians. It is not a stigma at all. 

It is one of the dearest privileges of the American to be 
heard. I am iidt here in any judicial capacity whatever. If 
I was I should have great difficulty in making up my judg- 
ment. But my duty is more allied to that of a master in 
chancery. The statements made to our agents a year ago 
were reported. If they had been made against the English 
or the Irish, they would have been reported ; and if you will 
look back to the report of a year and a half ago, you will find 
worse things said about the English than ever were said 
about the French Canadiai. s, and if the English had com- 
plained about these statements, as you had the patriotism to 
complain about the statements made with regard to the 
French Canadians, they would have been given a hearing in 
just this same way. No one has been singled out. These 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



87 



statements were made to us, as I said in the opening of this 
hearing, and we had no otlier duty to perform than to report 
them. It is your privilege to comphiin of these statements, 
it is your privilege to protest against these statements, and it 
is my bounden duty, as an honorable man, so far as my position 
is concerned, and the Bureau of Statistics is concerned, to give 
you the fullest and the fairest opportunity to he Ik aid. That 
has not only been a duty, but it has been a pleasure, I assure 
you. The day has been exceedingly pleasant to me, because 
of the spirit of fairness in which you have given your evidence, 
the intelligence you have brought to bear upon the ques- 
tions considered, and the very little advantage you have 
taken of the opportunity to make me uncomfortable ; these 
have all been very pleasant features of the day's work, 
I assure you. As I told you in the beginning, I do not 
blame you for being exasperated, but I am not r'^sponsible 
for the statements made to the Bureau. Now the (question I 
want to find out by my agents is whether they were made in 
malice or not. That work I have already undertaken. I 
am quite well satisfied that the reports made to the Bureau 
were made from localities where the French Canadians are 
Dot organized, where they are living, as a good many of our 
own Americans are living, in a way wiiich you would not 
approve. If these things are true, all I have got to d(j is to 
report them with the material parts of the testimony given 
here to-day, with such a review of it as shall be just to you ; 
and whatever is just to you will be honorable to the Bureau. 
There is no disposition other than to give you justice and 
fair play, which is an American principle, and I wish to thank 
you heartily for giving me the opportunity to show it. 
The hearing then closed. 



88 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



li! 






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tn 



jf 



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RKflUM<5. 
The statistics presented by Messrs. Gagnon, AuthiiT, and 
(lillet, are brouj^ht toijother in tbe t'ollowiiijj table: — 





Oagiion'ii.Stal- 

UUci<»2cttlei 

Mid town*.) 


Cuho««. 


Troy. 


Lowell. 


liii.iK, SflcHleii 
an<l lowna. 


Total jiopuliition 


417,877 


10,000 


56,873 


50,485 


554,135 


Caiiiuliaii pojxilu lOn, 


88,65a 


6,000 


3,1)02 


11,000 


109,646 


Ciiiiiuliiui real estate 












owners . 


2,5ifl 


176 


167 


- 


2,850 


School chihlren 


56,888 


- 


- 


7,293 


64,176 


Canadian sciioolchil- 












dif'ii 


13,406 


044 


508 


1,361 


10,219 


Canadian schools 


40 


4 


2 


— 


46 


Naturalised Canadi- 












ans 


4,480 


800 


484 


232 


5,906 


Canadians holding 












public ofTicc . 


68 


7 


- 


7 


67 


Canadian merchants 












and professional 












men 


540 


48 


06 


10 


703 


Canadian tradesmen, 


2,014 


30 




205 


2,249 



But little need be .said in addition to tlie remarks made at 
the hearing. We have presented the evidence in full, except 
where condensed by tlie authors in the revision of their respec- 
tive otatements. We have taken pains to learn if any malice 
existed in the minds of the informants of the Bureau against 
the French, and are perfectly satisfied that no malice entered 
into the case; our informants thought, and still think, they 
were speaking the truth generally, but freely admit that their 
statements were too sweeping. It is evident, however, that 
some prejudice existed in their minds, for they but echoed tho 
impressions existing in the minds of the people; and these 
impressions were the legitimate results of the policy and ac- 
tions of certain classes of the French, as will be seen, but 
which were allowed to apply to the race. 

The reports made to the Bureau came from localities where 
the French Canadians are not well organized, where they too 
often live in away that subjects them to severe criticisms, and 
where, from a variety of causes, they have been accustomed 
to change their residence with a frequency which usually led 
people to think of them as a roving race. It has been with 



Ji 



THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



89 



them as witli all pi-oples of strongly marked characteristics: 
the worst and lowest specimens have been taken as represen- 
tatives ol the race. 

Before and siru;e the hearini,' we have received a pjreat many 
written and virbal stiitemcras to the effect that tli»: parts of 
the Twelfth Annual Report relating to tiio French were per- 
fectly true. In fact, we have not met a single Canadian gen- 
tleman who has denied the truth of the report, if it were 
made the exception and not the rule, and if the term " Chinese 
of the East" be left out. It is only fair, however, to ?<lale 
brielly how the whole question appears to ii 

Ten years ago but few French Camidians bad eome t( our 
factory towns. Prior to that, the brickmaker, the wood- 
chopper, and the border farmer gave whatever impression the 
public minil received. When immigration began in earnest, 
and thousands of oi)eratives came over the line, they came, as 
a rule, with not only the exhortation of the French Catholic 
priest of Canala to return when they had actpiired some 
means, but with their own promises to the priest that they 
would return. The whole influence of the Church in Canada 
was, and is, exerted in favor of return to Canada. Later on, 
the Canadian government established paid agencies in the 
United States, to aid in returning Canadians to their old 
homes. 

This movement was fostered by the leading French Cana- 
dians living here, and has been advocated by the French 
press' of New Englanci, except " Le Rdpublicain," even since 
the last report of the Bureau was published. 

Many, however, came here from Canada with faint or little 
desire to return. Such settled at once to the business of life, 
and have become not only interested in our institutions, but 
have taken part in maintaining them. The idea of the new- 
comers being migratory irose not from them, but from the 
class which came with the promise and the determination to 
return, and from their reiterat(!d statements that they should 
return. And the great number who did actually return con- 
vinced many persons that they came simply to gain what they 
could, but not to become part of the American people. 

1 The following French Canadian papers are published in New England : 
Massachusetts — lie R^publicain, Boston; Le Travailleur, "Worcester; Courrier 
d' Worcester, Worcester; L'Abeille, Lowell; Le Jean Baptiste, Northampton. 
New Hampshire — L'Eclio des Canadiens, Manchester; L'Uuiou Nationale, 
Manchester; Le Bateau, Iitanchester. i/aine — Le Messager, Lewiston. 
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90 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



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Soon another influence began to be felt. The French Ca- 
nadian loves his church, and is loyal to it. If living in a small 
out-of-the-way place, he would soon remove with his compa- 
triots, and when sufficient numbers had gathered, the church 
was organized, and became the central power, or influence, 
The priest coming from Ciiiiada, it may be on missionary work, 
to take charge of the growing parish, soon found himself per- 
manently established in New England, and his natural desire 
was to see his flock grow and prosper. Thus repatriation 
stood in the way of the growth of the French Catholic Church 
in New England, and one or the other must be abandoned. 
Many Canadians returned, and are returning, to Canada ; 
but they find themselves more attached to the new than to 
the old ; for, as Professor Cyr remarked in his evidence, 
things do not look as they did when they were young. So 
they again turn their faces this way, and seek permanent 
abodes. 

The efforts of the Canadian government have been almost 
without success, and Avith strong French churches established 
in New England repatriation is a failure ; but still very re- 
cently, it has been loudly advocated in very many quarters as 
the best expression of patriotism. The doctrine has done 
much, and the most, in fact, towards fixing the impression in 
the minds of New England people that the French cared noth- 
ing whatever for the welfare of the country, but only sought 
personal gain at the expense of home industry. 

The employers of labor have done much to stimulate French 
immigration ; almost without exception, the mill managers, 
whate^'er they have to say about the traits of the Cana- 
dians, prefer them in their mills ; for they are industrious in 
the extreme, do not grumble about pay, are docile, and have 
nothing to do with labor agitations. While in these direc- 
tions they have won the regard of employers, they have in- 
curred the animosity of labor reformers. 

Another source of the prevailing impression that the French 
were unfriendly to New England ideas is found in the estab- 
lishment of parochial schools. However much the effort of 
the French to educate their children in these institutions 
may be applauded, the parochial school will always excite 
hostility on the part of the native. Whether they are foreign 
to our ways, or inimical to our institutions, are not questions 



french 

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have 

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THE CANADIAN FRENCH. 



91 



for discussion at this time. We only state the fact that their 
establishment by members of any race will always raise sus- 
picion in the American mind as to the sincerity of professions 
of loyalty to pur government on the part of the founders. 

The fact should be recorded that our Frenjh population 
is being schooled in our public and ^heir parochial schools to 
an extent not realized a very short time ago, and to a much 
greater degree than the public is, even now, aware of. 

Besides these causes there exist localities of French popu- 
lation that make the intelligent French Canadian blush, and 
that are disgraceful to the cities which permit the prevailing 
conditions. 

The same might be said, with equal truth, of other races. 
These localities are heard of more frequently than those of 
good order and good conditions. 

All these things are clearly indicated and shown by the 
evidence given at the hearing, and are fully substantiated by 
all with whom we have consulted, whether Canadians or 
Americans. 

With regard to naturalization, while the French are not 
naturalizing as rapidly as some other foreign elements, yet, 
considering the obstacle of language, they are now doing 
well. The nationality of our voting population is discus^'ed 
elsewhere.^ The statistics given at the hearing give eviden»',e 
of increasing interest in this direction. The fact that the 
French Canadian population has increased so rapidly only 
proves that more come than return, while the statistics ■ 
property show that permanency is becoming the rule. This, 
of course, is strongly shown in the building of churches, the 
establishment of schools, societies, literary associations, etc. 

Now, while it would have been very easy to have combated 
the evidence given at the hearing, and to have introduced 
much testimony to support the statements contained in the 
report of last year, and while we see no reason to strike out 
the statements therein made when read in the light of the 
present report, it is very gratifying to know that a wide and 
rapidly growing movement has arisen among the French Ca- 
nadians within the past few years, towards becoming citizens, 
fully identified with us as a permanent and honorable part of 
our people ; and in their every endeavor in this direction 

1 See Part II. — " Citizenship." 



m 



92 



STATISTICS OF LABOR. 



Americans can but wish them GoH -speed. Partly as a result 
of this movement efforts for repatriation have been abandoned, 
and it is now the settled policy of the Canadian French, who 
come among us, to come as permanent residents, and to be 
Americans. Although this movement is recent, yet it is 
accompanied by such laudable endeavors to acquire a knowl- 
e(''^e of our institutions, and to take active and intelligent 
part in our national life, that doubtless our best wishes con- 
cerning them will be realized. The action of every French 
Canadian convention which we have noted leans strongly in 
this direction. With such aspirations and purposes as were 
manifested at the hearing, complete assimilation with the 
American people is but a question of time. It was the desire 
to make known these aspirations and purposes, and a dispo- 
sition to treat all parties fairly, which induced the Bureau to 
give the hearing; the same reasons warranted the use of so 
much of the space of this report. The prosperity of New 
England demands the rapid progress of all her industrial 
forces, and of these the French Canadian element is cer- 
tainly one of the most important. 



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